Brooks Laich left Thursday night’s game with an unspecified injury that Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates described as “aching all over.” Oates said it was nothing major.
Laich took a puck to the groin in the first period that was unrelated to what happened later in the game. The 29-year-old forward did not take a shift in the final nine minutes of regulation or any of overtime.
Laich had missed the first 28 games of the season with a groin injury.
“Coming back [from] what he did, he’s kind of aching all over,” Oates said. “He’s really crammed a lot of hockey into a short span of time, and he looked a little sore all over. He got hit and [trainer Greg Smith] kind of looked at me and said, ‘You might want to shut him down right now because we got two games coming up.’ because he was fighting it a little bit. Nothing major. Just make sure he’s OK for the weekend.”
The Caps are off Friday, then play at the Florida Panthers on Saturday night and home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night.
Laich was mum about his condition afterward. He said he felt great because the Caps beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in a shootout to move into first place in the Southeast Division.
Asked about not playing for the game’s final 14 minutes, he said: “That’s coach’s decision. Some things are going to stay in house. The game was pretty fast. I really don’t have a lot to say.”
Then asked if there was no serious damage, Laich replied: “I don’t have a lot to say.”
Oates could tell something was off with Laich even before Smith pointed it out.
“I noticed he was hurting a little bit,” the Caps’ coach said. “He was huffing and puffing and he was fighting something. He’s probably a little sore all over.”
Oates said what eventually caused Laich to leave the game was not related to the earlier play
“The first time was a little shot in the pills,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “That’s not fun for anybody.”
Laich finished with 13:59 of ice time. But he was not available in a crucial situation late.
“Especially with that [penalty kill] late in the third there where we need him for draws, we need him for that big PK role,” Brouwer said. “But the guys did a good job tending without him. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”