Brooks Laich made some radio comments Wednesday morning that made him sound an awful lot like Mark Messier guaranteeing a victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals in 1994.
“We’re making the playoffs,” Laich said during his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan. “We’re not talking worst-case scenario; we’re making the playoffs.”
Laich’s guarantee about the Washington Capitals, if you want to call it that, is that they’re going to make the playoffs.
“I have a belief we’re going to be in the playoffs and that’s it. I don’t want to discuss any scenario that we’re not,” he said. “My belief is that we’re going to be in the playoffs.”
Laich is as competitive as anyone in the Caps’ locker room, so this declaration doesn’t come as any surprise, even if he really isn’t Joe Namath or anything. Washington needs to win its final two games to clinch a spot; it can also get in if the Buffalo Sabres falter.
“I don’t know how you can be in this business if you think otherwise. You play with confidence always and you always believe in your group,” Laich said. “I don’t know how you can be here without that.”
The Buffalo Sabres reacted kindly to Laich’s comments.
“Those are all predictions that you live with, you die with, you hope to motivate your team with,” coach Lindy Ruff told reporters Wednesday. “He probably believes sincerely that they’re going to make it. They probably like their schedule. They probably like their chances of playing Florida in their building. We got our work cut out for us. They got theirs. Our thoughts are making the playoffs, too.”
Added goalie Ryan Miller: “We’re not playing against him. It’s not Mark Messier. I think he’s searching for a spark for his team. They should be desperate right now, too. So I think they’re just looking for little things. I don’t think anybody in this locker room would go so far as to start to do that.
“It’s distracting. Hopefully, it’s a huge distraction for them. Some guys don’t react well to that. Guys might tighten up. Maybe their goaltenders – young goaltenders – aren’t going to react well to a guaranteed victory by their veteran guy. I think they start thinking about it.”