The Washington Times - February 7, 2009, 10:45AM

First, Brooks Laich says he’s ready to play tonight, and Alexandre Giroux is still out on the ice after everyone else. Laich said his leg was pretty sore yesterday, but it comes with the territory when “guys are shooting 90 mph missles at you.”

Staffan Kronwall is here at K-Plex and just spent a few minutes with us. Here are a few things to know about the newest member of the Caps:

SEE RELATED:


* He got here around midnight, but his gear won’t be here until later today. If he passes all the medical tests and other red tape, he will be on the ice with the Caps the next time they are (tomorrow or Monday). He won’t be able to play in a game until he obtains a work visa.

* He has played with Nicklas Backstrom before and he has skated with Michael Nylander in the summer back in his native Sweden.

* Yesterday George McPhee spoke of some injury issues that Kronwall had. He said he’s had a couple of knee injuries (MCL) at the wrong time in his career.

* On being claimed: “I was thrilled. It was kind of a win-win for me. I am just grateful that Toronto put me on waivers. They could have had me in the minors all year and I am very grateful Washington picked me up.”

* On being here the rest of the year: “I hope so. I really hope I have a chance to get looked at. I think I am an NHL defenseman and hopefully I can prove that.”

UPDATED: Bruce Boudreau said Brooks Laich will play tonight against the Panthers, who are about to start skating here because of the Georgetown game downtown. Yesterday Boudreau said Laich was “iffy” but he and Nicklas Backstrom are the only two guys who haven’t missed a game the past two seasons.

“There’s such a love for the game with [Laich], and he wants to battle through all injuries,” Boudreau said. “Those are the kind of guys you win championships with because they’re warriors.”

Boudreau also touched on why Michael Nylander is going to be a first-line right wing tonight:

“Quite frankly I really like it when Gordon and Steckel are playing center because it gives you that defensive responsibility,” he said. “Michael and Nicky get along so well. And if you think about it, Michael has always been a top-six forward, so you want to get him into that top-six spot when it is available.”