With major apologies to the AP’s Joseph White, I would like to bring to you the story of Brooks Laich’s paychecks.
Laich, as you know, talks about his intense and insane love of playing hockey more than any other Caps player of recent vintage. He also recently signed a six-year, $27 million extension, which means he will be paid a lot of money to play hockey. His standard explanation of his decision to stay in Washington, which he repeated on Thursday, is that it’s not about the money.
“I’m 28 years old right now,” he said, in audio provided by XM Home Ice’s tremendous Caps correspondent Jack Anderson III. “I want to give myself the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. So you sit back, you look at your team, you look at where we’re going, and you say where is life gonna be any better? Where are you gonna have a chance to win, not just this year, but the next five years as well, and maybe five years past that? I think it’s right here.”
Again, it’s a great answer, but it’s been Laich’s standard response for three months. Things got awesome, though, when someone asked a follow-up about whether the size of the contract would change Laich’s role or pressure.
“I’ve never played for money,” the winger responded. “I’ve found paychecks in my truck. I haven’t cashed paychecks.”
At which point, seeing a story, the AP’s Joseph White asked for some more details.
“There’s been twice that I’ve done that,” Laich responded. “One time, my first year in Washington, we got a paycheck somewhere in February, then we went on the road for a week and I didn’t want to take it with me, so I put it in my glove compartment. And then [I] got sent to Hershey for the playoffs. And I was going to Blockbuster in like June during the Calder finals, and I was looking for my Blockbuster card, and I opened my glove compartment and there was a paycheck in there from February. I’ve never played for the money, it’s never been about that. It’s a nice reward, but it’s not gonna make me work any harder. The reward is the Stanley Cup.”
Yeah yeah, got it, but what about the other time you lost a paycheck?
“I’ll never forget it, it was my first bonus check when I was 19 years old and it was for $46,000,” Laich said. “And I got it, and I looked at it, and my first thought was this is too much money, I can’t accept this. And I just put it in my closet in my apartment. About a month later, my mom phoned me and she said what have you done with your money? And I said ‘Oh, I don’t even know where it is.’ I had to search my apartment. And she said put that thing in the bank. I just didn’t know what to do with it. It was more money than I had ever seen. Now I have direct deposit, so I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”