As you may know back on October 9th, the Toronto Maple Leafs placed former long-time Capital Brooks Laich on waivers. Laich cleared, but remained with the team until two days later when the Leafs ultimately made the decision to demote him to their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
The Toronto Marlies have played two regular season games since then and Laich has dressed for neither. So what gives?
During training camp, the Toronto media wrote about how former Capital Brooks Laich would be a great choice to become the Leafs’ 18th captain in franchise history.
“I was one of those kids, a Leafs fan growing up who wrote school papers on being captain,” Laich said to the Toronto Sun in September. “But I think all that will sort itself out. I haven’t had any discussion like that, I’ve not been approached.”
On Sunday in a surprise move, the Leafs put Laich and his $4.5 million cap hit on waivers. This is the last year of Laich’s six-year, $27 million contract that he received from George McPhee and signed in 2011.
Tuesday night, deaf model Nyle DiMarco was crowned the Mirror Ball champion on the 22nd season of “Dancing with the Stars.” The Queens native won over viewers and judges with his mesmerizing ability to dance without hearing the music. The 27-year-old nabbed the trophy with the guidance of pro partner Peta Murgatroyd.
But let’s be honest, most of us don’t care about that.
What we do care about is former Capital Brooks Laich was in the audience in support of his fiancee, DWTS judge Julianne Hough. Laich was shown on live TV multiple times.
A few weeks ago, former Capital Brooks Laich and his Hollywood fiancee Julianne Hough went on an African Safari. Over the last few days, the couple have been sharing their photos from their trip, which included Laich posing with a lion. He looks very excited.
“Neither of us had been there before so it was a true bucket list moment for us to explore Kruger National Park in South Africa,” Hough wrote on her website. “The environment was breathtaking and the people were incredible. One thing I’ll never forget is zip lining from Zambia to Zimbabwe; we were able to literally be in two places at once!”
Laich seemed more intrigued by the dangerous animals.
Saturday night, Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues in his final game of the season. The clutch scoars gave the Russian machine his seventh 50-goal season. It also pushed Nicklas Backstrom, who assisted on all three Ovechkin goals, to the 50-assist plateau for the sixth time in his career.
On the plane ride home, Ovechkin posted a selfie of himself and Backy. “50 goals 50 assists !!!not bad!!💪😂,” Ovechkin wrote on Instagram.
An hour later, former Capital Brooks Laich left them a comment that you need to see.
Brooks Laich just accomplished a pretty impressive piece of trivia with the Toronto Maple Leafs. On April 5, 2009, Laich assisted on Michael Nylander’s final NHL goal in the Caps’ 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight, 2,497 days later, Laich assisted on William Nylander’s first NHL goal. William is Michael’s 19-year-old son.
Wednesday night, before Brooks Laich’s first game back as a visiting player, Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman interviewed the former Capital in the bowels of Verizon Center.
Friedman asked Laich if getting the first game out of the way so quickly was a good thing, and then they started talking about you guys on national TV.
Photo: Patrick McDermott
The tribute video was just over a minute long, but the ovation seemed endless. Brooks Laich’s teammates past and present stood and banged their sticks on the boards in recognition of his devoted service to the Washington Capitals and the game of hockey.
It began when he joined a last place team in February 2004 — Alex Ovechkin wouldn’t play his first game in Washington for another 20 months — and ended when he left in February 2016, with the Caps smashing NHL records with their eye on their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Laich’s trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs was billed as a salary dump, but it was one that left Washington’s general manager on the verge of tears. After Bruce Boudreau, Alex Semin, George McPhee, and Mike Green departed, Laich was one of the last of the Rock the Red, run-and-gun core that made hockey relevant in this town again.
“I wish the guys good luck,” Laich said when asked what he said the his former teammates during the tribute. “I looked down the bench and wished the guys good luck.”
He’s still wearing a mouth guard wwith the Caps logo on it.
Wednesday night, Brooks Laich made his grand return to Washington, three days after being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. As has been customary for long-time players, the Caps aired a tribute video during the first TV timeout.
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