Backstrom scores his 9th goal of the year vs. Ducks
Brooks Laich’s painstaking struggle to remain in the Capitals’ lineup took another turn for the worse today when it was decided he will not be in the lineup tonight when the New York Rangers visit Verizon Center [7 p.m., CSN].
Laich, 30, returned to the lineup in Monday night’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks after missing 11 straight games with groin pain related to the abdominal surgery he had last season. He played 13:23 in the loss to Anaheim, including 4:20 on the penalty kill, and said he felt fine after the game.
“It was the next day when I woke up,” Laich said. “I don’t know if you want to say a setback, but a bit of discomfort. We have a plan, we just have to find out what it is.”
Laich participated in today’s morning skate but he missed all but nine games last season with the injury and wants to make the right decision moving forward. He is scheduled to meet with a doctor later today.
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“I’m kind of in a holding pattern right now,” Laich said. “On the ice it felt pretty good but we’re looking at possibly doing something today. That’s as much as I can really divulge right now.”
Capitals coach Adam Oates said he thought Laich played well on Monday night and does not think he overtaxed him. But he also wants to be able to put Laich into the lineup without hesitation.
“It’s been a long time of almosts and it’s hard,” Oates said. “Hard for him and obviously, hard for us.”
Oates said the Capitals will continue to monitor Laich’s injury “until it either goes away totally or gets out of his head totally,” adding, “something doesn’t feel right and we don’t want to risk hurting him.”
With Laich out of the lineup, left wing Eric Fehr will remain on a second line with center Mikhail Grabovski and right wing Troy Brouwer, while Marty Erat centers a third line with left wing Jason Chimera and right wing Joel Ward. Jay Beagle will center a fourth line with left wing Aaron Volpatti and right wing Tom Wilson.