“It’s a lot better today, I’m really really close,” Laich said. “This way, I’ve got three more days to prepare for Tuesday. I’ll get some rest tomorrow, get a good hard practice in Monday, and be ready to go Tuesday.”
The night off means Laich will play in just one preseason game before the regular season, circumstances he admits aren’t ideal.
“Ideally, I wanted to play them all, but I want to be 6 foot 5, too. I don’t have control over that,” Laich said. “I wanted to play more preseason games, but those are the cards that have been dealt. Ultimately, I just wanted to be healthy October 1.”
Oates said Laich’s limited preseason is a concern, but the risks outweighed the positives that could result from skating him against the Blackhawks tonight.
“He wants to play, he’d like to get one more game, but if there was any chance it would hurt Tuesday, I just said ‘no’,” Oates said, acknowledging that he hopes to see Laich in his “normal” spot on the second line with Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer.
Laich saw his 2013 season trimmed to just nine games by a groin injury, but said he believes this preseason’s round of troubles are the result of adjustments he made to his equipment in the offseason.
“I’ve kind of reinvented myself. I’ve got a new rocker, a new radius, new curve, new lie. So four new things going on this year, which has a lot of variable and puts your body in a lot of different positions,” said Laich, who made those changes to his stick at the start of the summer. “There’s going to be some growing pains, so just getting comfortable with it and getting more healthy reps will eventually phase the problem out.”
“I didn’t use the stick a whole lot during the summer. I didn’t shoot a lot of pucks, just worked on skating because of the problems I had last year,” he said. “So now that the puck’s been introduced more, it’s putting my body in a lot of different positions. So I’m just getting used to that.”
>> Braden Holtby is scheduled to be in goal tonight in Chicago
>> Flyers agitator Zac Rinaldo will not receive any supplementary discipline for his hit on Mikhail Grabovski Friday night, according to tweets from Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety.
>> Grabovski, Eric Fehr, Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perrault, Jason Chimera and Tyler Strachan were all absent from the Capitals’ morning skate Saturday at Kettler Ice Complex. Coach Adam Oates said he made the morning skate optional for those players who played last night against the Flyers and will also play Saturday night in Chicago, a group of which those six skaters are a part. Oates said all six are healthy.
>> Oates said defensemen Mike Green and John Carlson will play tonight in Chicago.