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Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Report Card: Brooks Laich

Raise your hand if you want the jersey to stay red!
Today I bring you the twenty-second installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is utility forward Brooks Laich, who finished his eighth season in the organization this year.

Stats/Season Summary: Laich played in all 82 games this year, one of only three Capitals to do so.  He tallied 16 goals and 32 assists in those 82 games to go along with a +14 rating and 46 penalty minutes.  Brooksie skated minutes all over the place this season, seeing significant time at both wings and center on the top three forward lines.  Laich was also a top penalty killer for Bruce Boudreau as well as a net presence on the power play, and churned out a typical Brooks Laich year, even if his offensive numbers were not as gaudy as they were last year. Grade: B
Role Play: With a guy like Laich, you have to look past his role as a player on the ice in order to evaluate his role.  He is one of the best and most respected leaders on the Capitals, and he does the little things better than anyone else on the team.  Obviously a top nine forward is expected to score a little bit and play good defense, and Laich does do both of those things very well, but his real value is off the ice as a heart and soul guy.  The fans know it, Bruce Boudreau knows it, and George McPhee knows it.  Laich did exactly what he was supposed to this year. Grade: A
Playoffs: Laich had a very good playoffs, finishing second on the team in postseason scoring with seven points in nine games to go along with an even rating and 2 PIMs.  He was consistent throughout both series, never looking out of place or bad like most of his teammates did, but in the end, it just was not enough.  The sweep was a tough pill for everyone to swallow, but especially so for a guy like Laich. Grade: B
Future Potential: An unrestricted free agent, Laich, 27, is going to be in very high demand this offseason. A player as versatile as him with scoring and leadership abilities are not very common, and the Caps are going to need to pay up to keep him in Washington.  I think it will be totally worth the money, no matter what it is, and no matter where he ends up, he is going to be so very important for a long time. Grade: A

The next report card will be posted on June 7 and will feature goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

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