It didn’t matter that Brooks Laich played under 10 minutes Tuesday night; that he was in the Washington Capitals’ lineup at all 56 hours after hobbling out of Verizon Center on crutches was a wonder.
“He played hard and won big faceoffs for us killing penalties and did what it took,” coach Dale Hunter said. “He’s a warrior.”
But even warriors need a day off. Laich took that Wednesday, called by the team a “maintenance day,” something that’s very common for veteran players this time of year. Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman also had maintenance days.
Hunter confirmed Laich was “good” the day after playing 9:28. But this time of season, the Caps’ coach said he encourages guys to take time off.
“Yeah, you do. You see our schedule. We play Thursday and then play Sunday, Monday with some travel involved,” he said. “So definitely get a little bumps and bruises. Give them time.”
With those maintenance days factored in, the Caps’ top line just had two guys, Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer, and the others remained the same: Jason Chimera with Mathieu Perreault and Alexander Semin; Matt Hendricks with Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward; and Mike Knuble with Keith Aucoin and Jay Beagle.
Beagle was a healthy scratch in the Caps’ 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.