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Look for Matt Hendricks and Backstrom to try to fill in for bits and pieces of what the Caps are lacking without Laich. The Caps have plenty of leadership in the locker room, but on the ice it takes a committee approach to fill the void.

“It adds [pressure] for a lot of guys because Brooks is an important part of our team, plays a lot,” Oates said. “So those minutes are now available for other guys and they’ve got to step up and do it.”

Laich takes “great personal pride” in being on the ice all the time, for games and practices. Not being able to skate with teammates isn’t a situation he wants to be in, but teammates don’t want him to rush back and make anything worse.

“We’d rather have him in playoffs than at the start of the year,” Beagle said. “We’d rather have him down the stretch and make sure he’s fully healed, have him when it gets even more important.”