A certain segment of Capitals fandom has deep misgivings about the Joel Rechlicz Era. If I could speak for them, they wonder why Dale Hunter’s puck-possession-starved team is using a sweater on a gentleman whose greatest strength is fist possession, followed by chirp possession, followed by penalty box occupation.
Monday night was the Recker’s third game with the Caps; he has yet to reach 6 total minutes of ice time. He did, however, earn a 10-minute game misconduct penalty for something that happened while he was on the bench.
Katie wrote about Dale Hunter’s explanation of that penalty — nil, essentially — and Brooks Laich was also asked about it during an appearance on DC101 Tuesday morning.
“I can probably repeat a little bit of it,” Laich said. “You blank blank blank blank.”
Four curse words, then, justified the enforcer’s spot on the bench?
“No, we know what Joel’s here for, and even though he’s on the bench, he’s still making his presence known,” Laich said. “I mean, if somebody’s in your office — even though he might not be able to reach you — if he’s in your office yelling in your face, you’re gonna be aware of him. So the 10 minutes, I mean, the refs kind of got to let him do his job a little bit, I think. But I understand what they’re doing. But I think Joel’s presence is still felt. I mean, the other team, San Jose, wasn’t really looking at our bench too much, because they knew they were gonna get a face full of Recker.”
Well. Keeping the other team from looking at the home bench is certainly one version of hockey strategy.
“He’s awesome, he’s an awesome guy,” Laich said. “Even guys in Hershey, they speak tons about him. He’s a great team guy. He’s always patting everybody on the back. He’s always talking on the bench. And he’s one of those guys, he gets called up and he’s just genuinely just so excited to be here. He adds some energy, some emotion.”
(The Caps, I believe, are 0-2-1 when Recker dresses.)
Later, host Elliot Segal pointed out that an upcoming game with Montreal will offer yet another chance for the Caps to extract brutal, satisfying, non-goal-scoring revenge upon Rene Bourque, the fellow whose elbow to Nicklas Backstrom’s head has cost the center much of his season. Segal asked if he was the only one “still pissed” at Bourque.
“No,” Laich said. “You’re not the only one. Hockey players have long memories, buddy....He’s been suspended a couple times in the NHL. He’s a physical guy, but still, it was a blatant elbow on Nicky and our guy’s still out, so I don’t think guys really forget that.”
Then Segal said he hopes the Recker has a sweater on that night.
“I don’t know,” Laich said. “I don’t make those calls. You know, in the grand scheme of things, we’re gonna face that guy a lot more times. There’s a time and a place for everything.”
Anyhow, Rechlicz was sent back down to Hershey on Tuesday morning.