Admitting he was “pretty humbled” by a problematic right groin injury last season, Capitals forward Brooks Laich is taking a more patient approach this season as he remains sidelined indefinitely with a related ailment.
“The pain isn’t as severe,” Laich said after practice Thursday. “But it’s enough to cause alarm and enough to cause some physical malfunction, so I’m trying to be positive about it. It’s very difficult.”
The 30-year-old, who missed all but nine games last year because of the injury and the abdominal surgery it required, first noticed tightness in his groin following the Capitals’ game against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 22.
He has not skated since playing in Washington’s 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 27. By the end of the game, Laich was unable to skate without considerable pain. Instead of pushing through it, Laich elected to shut himself down in an uncharacteristic act of self-preservation.
“It was pretty evident that I wasn’t going to be able to help the team and I was going to do a lot of harm to myself,” he said, “so it really wasn’t a hard decision to come off the ice.”
Laich’s current injury is worrisome given that he underwent an extensive process last year to rectify the problem.
“It’s concerning to why it’s happening again,” Laich said. “It felt like I was 20-some games into the year, ‘OK I’m over the hurdle. I think I can handle the grind,’ and then all of a sudden it came on again.”
Laich has taken steps to find a recovery method that works for him. He began electroacupuncture this week and experienced immediate results and relief, he said.
“Sometimes you get a big jolt and sometimes you don’t, but it’s supposed to get pathways in certain muscles firing at the same time,” Laich said. “It’s kind of like a G-rated way of being tasered, if that makes sense.
“I had good results with it the first time, so we went a little more aggressive [Wednesday]. It’s kind of something that I’m hopeful will get me back on the ice.”