Caps forward Brooks Laich hopped on 106.7 The Fan to chat with the Junkies this morning, and topics ranged from being unlucky to his philosophy on optional practices to Alex Ovechkin's fitness. Here are some excerpts (thanks to Steinz for some help transcribing):
It sucks not being first. It's no fun. The last couple years, we've been accustomed to just sitting atop the Southeast Division and looking more at the standings throughout the league, looking for number one in the league, but they're a good hockey team. They played very well last night. And the Southeast Division has improved a lot this year.
On whether it's the new system that's holding the offense back:
You know what, our Lady Luck right now is just terrible. Last night Ovie steps out of the penalty box and the...you just see stuff like this and you shake your head. He breaks a couple sticks last night on scoring chances. You just see this stuff and you can't help but get frustrated.
We've tweaked a couple different things, but that shouldn't limit our offense at all. And on the power play, we just have to be better. Five, 10 percent better. Shoot more pucks, crash more nets, just move the puck, move our bodies, find a way to score -- any way to score. ...
We definitely would like to get back to scoring first, playing with a lead and making other teams change their game style to try and chase us.
On teammates missing optional skates:
There's some guys that don't like to take it, there's some guys that are religious and won't miss it. I'm 99 percent of the time gonna take it... even if you're a little tired in the morning, I like it because it helps me take a nap and get a little bit of sleep in the afternoon.
Players and coaches, they always say the same thing: 'Do whatever makes you great at night.'
Does the morning skate or practice help with fitness?
The morning practices aren't that taxing on the body, which is reasons why I like to go out. If they were 30 to 40 minutes and they were tough then I would try to save energy. But for guys that usually don't play as many minutes, guys that play six, 10, 12 minutes, usually 100 percent of the time they're out there because it's more work for them, but if Ovie plays 22, 23 minutes every single night, you wear down, your body gets tired, and if you can save a little bit of energy here or there and it makes you play harder in the game, then we're all for it.
Who's the most fit player on the team?
Oh, I don't know. Any answer I give you I'm gonna take heat for this. ... I pride myself on that, but there's other guys... Mike Green, I think he's fourth in the league in ice time.
You know what, I look at guys who don't miss games. That's what I respect a lot, players who play every single night and are consistent. Nicky [Backstrom] hasn't missed a game, knock on wood -- I shouldn't be saying this, but he hasn't missed a game in his career. Ovie, aside from a few suspensions, he plays through everything. Mike Green, the amount of hockey he plays is tremendous.
On whether Ovechkin's problem is his weight:
No, no, no. He's just a big man. If you shake his hand, he's just got big hands. He's just thick. We call it big boned or thick boned, there's people who just have mass to them. I'm unfortunately not one of those guys, but it'd be nice to carry a few extra pounds of just body mass to push D men.