Brooks Laich said just before the NHL lockout began and a lot since: Hockey players want to play hockey. They don’t just want to skate around a rink and practice when games are available.
That’s why he left the D.C. area this week to go to Switzerland. Laich could announce as soon as Friday what team he’s playing for, but his agent confirmed Wednesday that the Washington Capitals forward was “zeroing in on” playing in the National League A, the top Swiss league.
“He’s in Switzerland and going through a decision as to what he’s going to do,” Roland Thompson said in a phone interview. “He’s testing the waters and we’ll probably know Friday.”
The Swiss news agency Blick reported Tuesday that Laich had agreed to play for the Zloten Flyers in the NLA. According to Thompson, the 29-year-old is in the feeling-out process right now.
Laich made no secret of his thoughts on owners wanting to cut back player salaries as part of this work stoppage, nor his desire to play somewhere.
“Players want to play hockey. If they’re not going to be allowed to do it here, we’re going to look for other options,” Laich said last week. “The players in the NHL are the best players in the world and if they are available, there’s going to be other opportunities, other teams, other leagues are going to come calling and trying to get these guys there. Ultimately, we want to play hockey, so if it’s not going to be here, it’s probably going to be somewhere.”
Laich is set to join the likes of Rick Nash, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture in Switzerland.