The Washington Times - June 28, 2011, 04:28PM

After the Caps’ season ended – with an almost inexplicable sweep that has caused everyone to blame injuries and wonder what could have transpired with a healthy blue line – Brooks Laich went to management with some “concerns.”

What happened in those private conversations won’t become public knowledge, Laich said, but the newest signee (six years, $27 million) shed some light with some comments on a Tuesday conference call.

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“This year I think there’s gotta be a lot more accountability amongst our players to each other and to the coaches,” he said, his voice striking a more serious tone. “It’s up to every single player  – it doesn’t matter how much you make or how long you’ve been here or what your name is – to practice as hard as they can, to practice as a team, to work as a team.”

That sounds a bit like a jab at players who take a lot of optional practices off. Laich was very complimentary of the coaching staff and said keeping that group intact played into his returning to the Caps.

Taking some time to “let the dust settle,” Laich realized that he and his teammates need to mimic the Lightning and elevate their game in the playoffs. Accountability is the name of the game there, and Laich feels good about the answers he received from management.

“I fully feel confident that we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have signed and I wouldn’t have signed for the length of time that I have.”

It might be fair to think change is coming.

“He’s been assured in conversations with management that there will be some appropriate changes to address those concerns,” Laich’s agent, Roland Thompson, told The Washington Times.