Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki
On Wednesday, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich did his weekly radio segment with the Sports Junkies. The Wawota, Saskatchewan-native has missed nine out of the last ten games with an upper-body injury. On Wednesday, Laich told the Junkies that doctors believe he’s dealing with a painful nerve problem in his shoulder/collarbone area.
Laich returned to game action last Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks only to re-injure himself. “By the time I left the arena, I couldn’t touch the left hand to my face,” Laich said. “So obviously it was a little bit sore.”
Um, yeah. That’s not good.
Laich’s full comments on his injury are below.
What’s the deal with your injury? Your frustration level has to be at an all-time high.
The frustration levels probably at an all-time high. Mentally more frustrated than anything. My legs and everything feel fantastic. I was really excited about the year and for this to come and sidetrack me a little bit is really tough to deal with. You guys know how much I love to play the game. It’s really tough when you’re sitting and watching again. But I did have an MRI [Tuesday] and got some good news and we have something planned for [Wednesday]. So we’ll see. I can’t explain a whole lot of it because I don’t even know what’s going on. Something that will hopefully be a quick fix and get me back within a short amount of time. All I can do is try to stay positive. The one thing I tell myself each day is, “it’s not a head injury.” I’m pretty fortunate that it’s not a head injury, it’s in the shoulder so I just need to get that better. But the legs feel great. Trying to stay upbeat and positive, support the guys, and be back on the ice very soon.
Where does it hurt the most right now? Does it hurt when you’re walking around?
It hurts in the brain, Lurch. It hurts in the brain. It hurts right around the collarbone area. There’s just very limited mobility and very limited strength. The strength I believe is there. We think it might be some type of nerve problem. Not exactly sure. We’re trying to figure that stuff out.
Did you your shoulder get re-popped out the first night you came back?
I don’t quite know exactly. I played the game because it was a game we had to win. The game in Chicago– there are certain games on the schedule that are identifying games– and maybe it was a bit premature to return. But I had to play in that game. By the time I left the arena, I couldn’t touch the left hand to my face. So obviously it was a little bit sore. Since then we’ve been trying to get it to calm down and get it back to being functional. So practice here and there. Spot practices. I’m going to go on the ice [Wednesday] morning, but we’re going to try something here today probably that should give me a boost and hopefully get me back full-time.
Laich also spoke briefly about what statistics are important to him. It seems like he’s a fan of the corsi.
What stats are you guys looking at after games?
It depends on the player. If you have an offensive player, he’s going to look at his shots, probably his power play time, and his shots. He’s going to look at his offensive chances. If you’re looking at a third-, fourth-line guy, he might be looking more at plus-minus. Might be looking more at face-offs. You can’t say that there’s one single stat that’s uniform through everybody. Obviously as a team we want puck possession. I think that’s a huge one. And shots for, shots against, in the course of the season that’s usually indicative of a winning or losing team. Sometimes they can be misconstrued during the course of a [single] hockey game with special teams and that sort of stuff. Myself I look for shots and face-offs. Those are the couple big things [for me]. Then I want my special teams minutes to be high as well.
Do you work on face-offs all the time?
All centermen and even a lot of our wingers will take face-offs almost on a daily basis after practice ends. Especially on game days. A lot of guys put in a lot of time trying to put in work on the face-off because if you can win a face-off that gives you puck possession. That means for probably five to ten seconds to start every shift you have the puck rather than chasing the puck. And over the course of a game there’s probably 60, 70 face-offs. I mean, that’s a big difference.
Thanks to reader Lori for sending us the audio.
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