Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Not all of the people iconic to Caps hockey are the players on the ice. Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are a part of the experience all year, holding our hands through nail-biting overtime games, hugging us after crushing defeats.
You know, metaphorically.
Cap Hit: Priceless.
Milestones: Joe B got his very own hockey card this year! Your move, Laughlin.
Things We Said About Joe B and Locker: “Here’s the Joe B suit of the night.” “Hold it here!”
Joe B: “Sean Bergenheim. I want to strangle him. …Mr. and Mrs. Bergenheim, I’m just kidding!”
Locker: “Great pickup by the Caps. Ribeiro has more moves than a barrel of monkeys.”
Spirit Animals: Ian’s ferrets.
Team Role: Call the games with personality and professionalism; stay upbeat during losses and level during wins; let us know when people are not related.
Execution of that Role: Ten out of ten. We weren’t sure whether Joel Ward and Cam Ward were related, but Joe B was there for us.
Postseason Performance: Sadly, the Caps’ broadcast team does not travel with us past the first round of the playoffs, but suffering through NBC broadcasts just made us appreciate them that much more.
Favorite Locker Tweets of the Year:
War Wounds: Laughlin had scheduled hip surgery after the Caps’ regular season ended, rocking the red in the hospital and back on the ice in a matter of weeks.
Biggest Fans: These ladies have great taste.
Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Every good disaster story needs a narrator.
Overall Year-End Rating: Ten Good Sashas.
All Jokes Aside: This was not an easy season to be a sportscaster for the Capitals, and we couldn’t have had better guides. Beninati and Laughlin covered a team in turmoil this year, from disappointments to coaching changes, from player declines to demoralizing losses. They did it all with the intelligence and humor that we’ve come to expect from them, did not lie to us or try to mask the problems but instead delivered them with sensible analysis that never devolved into bitterness.
This fanbase has been through good times recently, and rough times, and the worst possible times, and Joe B and Locker have been a constant through it all. Both of these men have outgrown regional sportscasting, and we’re lucky to have them.