Thursday, November 3, 2011
5 MINUTES WITH BROOKS LAICH
Chris Cuthbert - You played your first NHL game and only game as an Ottawa Senator back in 2003-04. What do you remember from your debut?
Brooks Laich - I remember not being able to take the smile off my face in the pregame warm up. It was so noticeable that one of the Senators equipment guys came over to me after warm up and said its nice to see a guy enjoy himself so much at the rink. The game was against NJ. I remember sitting on the bench and Jeff Friesen blew by our bench on a 2 on 1. I thought, wow, is this ever fast! I played that game on a line with Bryan Smolinski and Marty Havlat. It was Smolinski's 800th game and my first.
CC - You were a 6th round pick in 2001 and it took you a few years to get established. Now, you are one of the best players on one of the best teams in the NHL. How did that happen?
BL - It was after my second year in the league. I had just turned 24 and I was walking to the rink for summer training, and the thought hit me. Am I going to just be a borderline guy in the NHL? Is that all I'm ever going to be? Something snapped and I decided to apply myself that summer. I never really understood the sacrifices it took to be successful. I decided that summer to strictly apply myself. I went to bed at 9pm and started working out at 7am everyday. The following season I scored 21goals and realized that I needed to do more to be successful.
CC - You were a free agent this past summer. Did you consider leaving the Caps?
BL - There was never a doubt. For negotiation reasons we couldn't say that last spring. I talked to my Dad and he said, "when you are 50 and looking back on your career, will you be able to say that you gave yourself the best chance to play in the most meaningful role to win a Stanley Cup." Not that money wasn't an factor, but my Dad and Bruce Boudreau had the same message; where is it going to be better than Washington with a chance to win the Stanley Cup?
CC - You are centring the third line but can play anywhere in the Caps lineup. Do you have a preference?
BL - In a perfect world I would like to play centre on the 2nd line, playing a scoring and two way role. But look at our lineup. If we are matching up, the 3rd line is where I can help the team most. I believe I can produce offensively in this league and be a 60 point player but its probably better if I can say I've helped this team win 55 games.
CC - Tell us about your website.
BL - When I was a kid I scoured everywhere for information on NHL players, for tips, how they trained, anything behind the scenes. Now that I'm in the NHL I got the idea to give back. The website http://www.brookslaich.com/ gives fans an idea of what players go through, and every month I answer question from young players and fans.
CC - You live in one of the most important and historic cities in the world. Are you a political buff?
BL - Actually I lived downtown about 9 blocks from the White House and never took a tour until my 5th year with the team. When my Dad retired as school supervisor I took a video for him near the White House and said if you want to keep working parttime the President needs an advisor.
CC - Its a long way from Wawota, Saskatchewan to Washington, D.C. What's the best way to describe Wawota?
BL - Heaven on earth.(laughs) We don't have all the bells and whistles, but in the long run its home. Its a great place to grow up and a great place to live.
CC - Finally what do you tell your buddies when they ask about Ovie?
BL - Well many of them have met him,so they know. Ovie enjoys life and everything about it. His attitude is infectious. It looks like he's always having fun. Our whole team is like that. He's just a fun guy to be around.