Since the start of training camp Brooks Laich has neither been seen nor heard around the Capitals locker room.
That’s about to change. Laich, who has missed the first five games of the season with an apparent groin strain, joined the team in Ottawa on Monday, where the Caps will face the Senators Tuesday night.
Laich has not practiced with the Capitals since reporting to camp with the injury, which occurred while he was playing in Switzerland during the lockout.
Because he was injured during the lockout and is a non-roster player, Laich will not be paid by the Caps until he passes a team physical.
Capitals right wing Joel Ward suffered a groin strain last February and played the remainder of the season with the injury. He said Monday he does not know the exact nature of Laich’s injury but understands there are limitations playing with a groin injury.
Ward eventually had surgery to repair a sports hernia.
“You just want to play,” Ward said. “You know what surgery can do and that you’d be sitting out a minimum of a couple weeks. We’re athletes and that’s what we’re supposed to do, go out there and play and compete.”
Laich prides himself in playing through injuries. He has missed more games this season [five] than he has in his previous five seasons with the Caps, when he missed a total of just four games.
“This game is all about skating and moving and there’s a lot of wear and tear,” Ward said. “You’ve got to battle through it and manage the pain as best you can. There’s not much else you can do.”
Once Laich is cleared to play he’s likely to see time on the top line, possibly replacing Joey Crabb on a unit with Alex Ovechkin and Jay Beagle