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.
Photo: Claus Andersen
Ex-Cap but forever-honorary-Washingtonian Brooks Laich was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs late Sunday night. Since then, it has been a whirlwind for Laich, playing in his first Leafs game the next day.
Tuesday, Laich took to Instagram to thank Capitals fans for all their support. It was classy.
Photo: Marianne Helm
Early Sunday morning, Brooks Laich was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was essentially a salary cap dump. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin typed a particularly sweet message to Laich on Instagram immediately after the trade was announced.
“Me and u was together since my 1st year,” Ovechkin wrote. “We make this team together! Im gonna miss u bro good luck to u!!! Gonna miss u!!!”
Since then, Laich flew to Toronto and made his debut Monday night in the Leafs 2-1 loss to the Lightning. Afterwards, Laich said he still had mixed emotions about the trade. “My heart was really there [in DC],” he admitted.
Wednesday night, in a cruel twist, Laich will be forced to revisit his feelings of the deal when Toronto plays the Capitals in Washington.
Ovechkin admitted how weird the situation will be after the Caps’ morning skate, Tuesday.
Photo: Claus Andersen
Twenty-four hours after getting traded, former Capitals Brooks Laich and Connor Carrick made their debuts for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Laich, wearing number 23 (weird), had a shot and a hit in 12:27 of ice. Carrick, wearing number 8 (bold), had three hits in 19:13 TOI (fourth most on the team). Carrick also fought J.T. Brown in his second NHL bout. The Leafs fell to the Lightning 2-1, but they outshot Tampa 32-28.
After the game, Laich admitted that “there’s certain times where a little wave of emotion comes” when he thinks about his 12-year career with the Caps being over.
This time we’re doing it a little bit different. Brooks Laich’s trade hit RMNB reader Sean Morrow especially hard last night. So he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to make this video for Brooks.
It’s set to literally the perfect song. Take it away, Sean.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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