Capitals forward Brooks Laich suffered what appeared to be a right shoulder injury late during Saturday night’s 2-1 shootout win over Florida, colliding with winger Shawn Thornton in front of Washington’s bench, leaving the ice and disappearing into the locker room.
Coach Barry Trotz did not see the injury to the winger, and initially thought it was a knee issue, given that Laich had recently taken several pucks off his leg while blocking shots.
“He had hurt his knee blocking a shot two games previous, and I thought it hit him on the same spot,” Trotz said. “When he went off someone told me it was upper body, not lower body.”
Feeling the strongest he had in several years — Laich missed 70 games over two seasons under previous coach Adam Oates — the forward had been solid over four-plus games for the Capitals, deflecting shots on defense, crashing the offensive zone boards to draw a meaningful penalty earlier this week against San Jose and, Thursday night vs. New Jersey, winning a crucial puck battle along the boards that set up Marcus Johansson’s game-winning goal.
“It’s so much fun,” Laich said in mid-September. “Honestly, I come in with a monster smile every morning. Something you really realize is when you go through a little bit of health problems and the game gets taken from you a bit, you realize how important it is to you, how much fun you have playing.”
Laich had recorded one assist this season, first centering the line with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera, then moving to right wing beside Johansson and Andre Burakovsky.
Trotz said he would provide an update on Laich’s health Monday. The Capitals have Sunday off before practicing Monday, then flying Tuesday for their three-game western Canada road trip.
The good folks at Russian Machine Never Breaks provided footage of Laich’s injury below.