Whether Brooks Laich did or didn’t guarantee a playoff berth on the Junkies last week, he made headlines, in multiple cities, by saying his team was “making the playoffs.”
I happened to be in Buffalo the next day; Laich’s name was actually on the sports front of my hometown Evening Observer, although the Buffalo News put their Laich story inside the section.
One week later, the Caps had made the playoffs, and Laich was back on 106.7 The Fan for his weekly appearance. He was, of course, asked about the stir he had caused.
“I got a bone to pick with you boys,” Laich joked. “I say a little comment on the radio; next thing I know I show up at the rink and there’s a massive scrum of media in my stall.”
So the Junkies asked him if he was peeved.
“I don’t know, I stood behind the comments,” Laich said. “If you check the tape, I didn’t come out and say I guarantee we’d make the playoffs, I just said I was confident in our team, but in a weird way you guys blew it up to something bigger than it was.”
Then they talked about the Bruins for a bit, before finally asking Laich how many games the Caps would need to polish off Boston in this first-round matchup.
“Yeah, nice try guys,” Laich countered. “What is it, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice....You never make those sort of [statements] that are so wild and wacky and blatant that they’re gonna end up in the other team’s locker room. But our team is confident, we’ve played well. And now it’s the postseason; now it’s gonna go up another level.”
So no guarantee there, unless it’s in code, which I will be sure to decode and then post in a large-font headlines with multiple exclamation marks, just to make my friends over in Ballston pull off their eyelids in anger.
See, here is the transcript of a discussion that Caps radio play-by-play man John Walton and WashingtonCapitals.com senior writer Mike Vogel had last week about the whole Laich guarantee thing.
Walton: “I’m a little bothered. I’m a little bothered....Now Ryan Miller’s been brought into this, and the Buffalo Sabres are commenting, and this is insane to me....The Junks are having some fun with Brooksie, I’ve got no problem with that. They want to kind of pump up the tires a little bit, there’s nothing wrong with that. But what there is something wrong with is when the media are running with the fact that Brooks Laich quote-unquote guaranteed that the Capitals are making the playoffs. He said no such thing. It’s in a headline on The Washington Post. I love The Washington Post. I read Dana Milbank. Bob Woodward is a hero of mine. But that is irresponsible.”
Vogel: “That’s a different Washington Post, I believe.”
Walton: “Katie Carrera’s story right now says that Brooks Laich guaranteed — no, he did not. He didn’t do it. Ok, so if you want to stir it up, and you want people to read what you’re writing, that’s fine, but you’ve got to do it responsibly, because now every journalist in Buffalo picks this up.”
Vogel: “Well, that’s what they do. This is a made-for-Steinberg production here. He said, she said, they said.” (So so, meta - ed.)
Walton: “You know what, Dan put the clip up and that’s fine, because the clip is what it is. But I’m starting to wonder if anyone who follows this team who was here this morning actually listened to the clip before they went and talked to Brooks Laich this morning.”
Vogel: “Probably not, probably not. How about the mob scene around that guy’s stall, huh?”
Walton: “And I understand it’s that time of the year, I understand that you’re trying to capture the spirit of the thing. And I’ve got all the respect in the world for freedom of the press and whatnot. But you’ve got to get it right, and this didn’t get it right.”
Vogel: “Know what’s a story and know what isn’t a story, too.”
Well, with all due respect, I would still maintain that a team leader going on the radio and saying “we’re making the playoffs” is a story. Now, a team leader going on the radio and saying “nice try guys,” that probably isn’t a story.
Oh, wait. Well. Whoops.