The last few weeks have not been good for former Capitals forward Brooks Laich.
Laich’s season started with a painful surprise: he was waived and sent down to the minors by the Toronto Maple Leafs. After consecutive scratches in the AHL, Laich’s status and desire to continue playing became a mystery in the media. “We’re talking with him, talking with the Leafs as well,” Marlies’ Head Coach Sheldon Keefe said to TSN’s Kristen Shilton on Thursday. “We’ll make the decision on what’s the right situation for him, what’s the right situation for us.”
Apparently that decision was more hockey. Laich suited up in his first game for the Marlies Friday night, posting a shot on goal as the team’s fourth-line center. One SB Nation writer described Laich’s performance as “largely unnoticeable.” Saturday night against the Manitoba Moose, Laich was noticeable and in a good way. The 33-year-old center scored his first AHL goal since December 11, 2005. It was his 40th career goal in the AHL.
3:35 into the game, Laich took a pass from Rinat Valiev and roofed the puck past Eric Comrie. Laich’s celebration was noteworthy for how little he celebrated. Laich raised his right arm but showed no joy or emotion when greeted by his teammates behind the net.
Laich’s last AHL goal came eleven years ago when the Wawota, Saskatchewan, native was 22-years-old and a member of the Hershey Bears. The December tally came against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the New York Islanders affiliate. Laich had six shots that night. It was less than a year after the Capitals had traded star Peter Bondra for him.
Brooks Laich Then and Now: Laich’s bio picture for the Leafs before the 2016 season (left). Laich’s bio picture for the Hershey Bears in 2005 (right).
Later in the game, Laich also assisted on Byron Froese’s empty-net shorthanded goal to ice the game.
Through two AHL games, Laich has two points and is a point-per-game player.
What’s not to laich about that?
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