Many Caps fans have spent weeks praising Jason Arnott for his leadership, for saying things that needed to be said and helping the Caps embark on their late-season joyride to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
But I’m not sure any of them have praised him as much as Brooks Laich did during a Monday morning appearance on DC101. Laich spent nearly four minutes discussing Arnott’s contributions to the Caps, and they don’t sound insignificant.
“I remember his first game here, because I was playing on a line with him,” Laich said. “And he was like ‘Does this happen? Does this happen? Are these guys serious? Does this go on?’ Just little plays when we’re on the bench and we’re seeing stuff on the ice.
“And then after the game he made a comment that I think really rang through our locker room. He said ‘I don’t care if our players want to hear it, I’m gonna say some things that need to be said.’ And that’s very brave of a new guy to come in, but he can do that, he can get away with that, because he’s got the respect of everybody.
“If it’s somebody else coming in who’s new and just says ‘Well I’m gonna turn everything around here,’ maybe they don’t have the earned respect that Arnie does.So when Arnie says something — ‘Ok, something’s wrong here guys, we’re not gonna win what we want to win unless we fix this specifically’ — players are really gonna listen up and make the changes. And I think he’s done a great, great job of that.”
And so, what specifically has he said?”
“He’s come in and really united the whole group,” Laich said. “[He’s]said ‘Ok listen guys, I know we’re very talented and we’re great with the puck, but if we want to win what we want to win, we have to play on the other side of the puck, we have to play without the puck, we have to play defensively.’ And he’s really helped right the ship in that regard. And I can’t say enough about him.”