Caps Color Commentator Craig Laughlin to Host New Radio Show

Without a season to cover, Caps color man Craig Laughlin has found a new outlet for his talents. Laughlin has joined the E.Y.E.S. Radio Network, where he will host a weekly radio show called Lunchtime with The Locker: The Craig Laughlin Show.

The two-hour program will begin on Wednesday, January 2nd, and will apparently include comedy and politics among the hockey talk. We are so there.

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We’ve been through this before. No matter how poor I am, my frugal instincts go out the window when Washington Capitals treasures are unearthed online. So that’s why on eBay last week, I shelled out even more cash on some vintage postcards depicting two iconic Capitals in all their early 80s glory.

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Craig Laughlin Undergoes Successful Hip Replacement Surgery

Alan May visits Locker in the hospital after his first hip surgery. (Photo credit: @Laughlin18)

After spending a relaxing week in Waterloo, Ontario with his 90-year-old mother, former Capital and current CSN color analyst Craig Laughlin returned home to have hip replacement surgery Wednesday. If you recall, Locker had his other hip replaced earlier this year in May, missing Game Five of the Capitals playoff series against the New York Rangers. However, Locker remained with the team in spirit that night. In one of the more inspiring moments of the playoffs, the affable Canadian tweeted out a picture of himself watching the game on his iPad, a retro Capitals jersey neatly draped over his body. Aww.

Before his surgery today, Locker showed off his trademark humor, bragging that he was “getting the Ferrari of new hips.” After he got out of the operating room, Locker tweeted out another update, letting us know everything went well.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Joe B and Locker

Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin pose with their Rookie Cards

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.

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"Even after surgery, he's still rockin' the red! He doesn't miss a beat. #WinItForLocker" (Photo credit: Courtney Laughlin | @courtlaugh22)

Those who follow Craig Laughlin on twitter were probably aware that the Caps announcer was going under the knife today. It’s not a surprise for him, a long-planned hip surgery made necessary by Laughlin’s long hockey career, but the Caps fanbase rallied around him anyway to wish him well.

Laughlin made it clear that he didn’t intend to miss any Caps games, though, even from the hospital. Later in the day he tweeted the above picture, and his daughter tweeted another.

As promised — he didn’t miss a game, and even though we miss his voice on CSN, we’re happy to see him healthy and smiling. Send your well wishes to him on the twitter machine at @Laughlin18, email us, or link your your Get Well Soon cards in the comment section! Scribbles, noodle art, Photoshops, anything that expresses your love for one half of our broadcast team. We’ll post our favorites in this post.

#WinItForLocker

Joe Beninati’s Rookie Card

Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin pose with their Rookie Cards

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Way back in the eighties when trading cards were still packaged with a stick of bubble gum, a young, bright-eyed right-wing by the name of Craig Laughlin was featured on his first ever card. O-Pee-Chee, a Canadian candy company, produced the 1983-84 season set which also featured rookie cards for Scott Stevens, Phil Housley, and Brian Bellows.

Fast forward 28 years, Laughlin can now be found in the Capitals broadcast booth alongside play-by-play man Joe Beninati. The broadcast duo has been calling Capitals games together for 17 years. While the two took completely different paths to get to their current jobs, The Panini Group has now distinguished Joe B. with the same honor Laughlin received in his playing days. Yes, Joe B. now has an official trading card too. And it comes signed!

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Video: Joe B and Locker’s Biggest Fans

As you know, we don’t think it’s cool to give female hockey fans a hard time for liking the players. But it’s okay to differ on matters of taste. Evgeni Malkin, for example, has some kind of nerve-damage thing happening on that face that only a mother could (or should) love. But we see people holding signs for the guy anyway.

During Friday’s Jets-Caps game, these two sophisticated mamas made a tandem proposition to DC’s broadcast team of Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin. Bravo, ladies. You have our complete support.

Sometime later, Laughlin, who is always a smooth character, was caught signing autographs for fans who were throwing up items to him in the booth. This town certainly loves its announcers.

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George McPhee and Mike Knuble pose with the silver stick. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

With the drop of a six-ounce disc of vulcanized rubber, 39-year-old right wing Mike Knuble became the 269th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 career games. While only a small percentage of players ever reach that milestone, an even tinier amount do it at age 39. Consider, Knuble is the second oldest player to ever reach 1,000 games, trailing only ex-Capital defenseman Grant Ledyard (who was 40).

Kanoobs, a veteran of 16 career NHL seasons, won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Detroit during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons – his first two years in the league. However, it would take him four more years to finally have a breakout year and establish himself. In 2002-03, after Sergei Samsonov suffered a wrist injury, Knuble was asked to fill the void on the first line alongside Joe Thornton and Glen Murray with Boston. The gritty, two-way forward responded by finishing the year with 30 goals and 59 points. Knuble’s never looked back since.

Entering this season, Mike has recorded eight straight 20-goal seasons. Even more remarkable: Knuble’s scored 221 of his 271 career goals after his 30th birthday. That’s more goals than Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky racketed up during the same playing age. This stat speaks volumes about Knuble’s relentless work-ethic, high hockey IQ, and professionalism. “You spend the first four or five years of your career trying to lock up a spot in the league and try to prove to everybody that you can play,” Knuble explained after Capitals practice Monday. “That’s enough of a battle. Once you get over that hump and you’ve proved you can play, then it’s a question of just being able to play that long and staying healthy.”

Naturally, the Capitals organization went all out to celebrate the assistant captain’s achievement tonight.

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William Make-A-Wish (33 of 34)

Alexander Semin picks up William after giving him his game jersey. (Photo credit: Shannon family)

Editor’s Note: By now, you’ve probably heard of William Shannon. He is five years old, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is everyone’s favorite little Capital. Thanks to the make a Wish-A-Wish foundation and the Caps, William had his dream realized and took the ice with Mike Green, Jason Chimera, D.J. King and Semyon Varlamov on Friday.

“This weekend was an incredible event!,” William’s father Devin Shannon said in an email. “William’s wish was to practice with the Capitals and he did! I can’t tell you how much everyone has done for us and what this weekend has meant for us.”

After practicing with the Caps, William’s journey continued on Saturday when he and his family took in Washington’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres before riding the on the Zamboni and receiving the jersey off the back of Alexander Semin after the game. I’ll let Devin take it from here:

Day two was just as amazing as day one! Allyson Butler from Make-A-Wish met us in the hotel lobby and took us out to wait for our “ride” to the game! Within minutes a very long black stretch limo appeared before us! Bill, our driver, was very nice. William and Emily quickly climbed in and all we heard for a few minutes was: “Cool!” “This is so sweet!” Then we had chatty little ones for the short ride over to the Verizon Center! It is amazing how just the little things make such a huge impression! How neat it was for the kids to get out of the limo right in front of the Verizon Center with so many fans around wondering who the V.I.P. was!

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Hendricks’ Hustle Pushes Caps Past Canes, 2-1

Alex Ovechkin celebrates after scoring the GTG, wristing home his 28th goal of the year past Cam Ward

SCOAR! (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

After extending their season-high winning streak to six games with Wednesday’s 5-0 blowout win over the Edmonton Oilers, the Capitals tried to keep things in perspective. Following this morning’s pre-game skate, Mike Knuble told the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera that, “I don’t know if we’re hot-hot, but we’re playing better.” Bruce Boudreau even admitted that tonight’s game against the always hard-working Carolina Hurricanes would be “a great test.”

Indeed it would be. Despite chucking 19 shots at Cam Ward through two periods, the Capitals went into the lockerroom facing a 1-0 deficit. Why? Because everyone’s favorite Ruutu brother, Tuomo, converted on a three-on-two odd man break, blasting a slap shot past a screened/interfered-with (you choose) Braden Holtby. The goal, scored with only 36 seconds left in the period, forced the normally chipper Craig Laughlin to lament “goals at the beginning and end of periods are always back-breaking.” Joe Beninati then let us know that the Hurricanes were 21-0-0 when leading after two. Wuh oh.

But then God’s gift to hockey, Alex Ovechkin, decided to do his thing. 47 seconds into the third period, Ovi rifled a twisted wrister past a baffled Ward. Tie game. Then six and a half minutes later, Matt Hendricks showed us again why he was the most valuable player the Capitals picked up over the summer. Jason Arnott, who was sprung on a breakaway after serving a two minute minor for hooking, was initially denied by Ward’s glove. However, a rebound was left in the crease, and Hendricks, who had just killed off Arnott’s hooking penalty, hustled all the way down the ice and chipped home the rebound.

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