If the Washington Capitals are going to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, they might have to do it without center Brooks Laich. Capitals insider Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington reports Laich will be visiting groin specialist Michael Brunt on Monday in St. Louis and may require surgery that would end his regular season.
Laich has dealt with persisting groin issues the past two seasons. He already underwent a procedure on his groin last season in which he only played nine games. The ongoing groin problems have already caused Laich to miss 18 games this season, including Sunday's 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Laich reportedly tried talking his way into playing Sunday, but Capitals head coach Adam Oates would not budge.
"We talked and we shot Brooksie down," Oates said. "He wasn't feeling good and he's going to St. Louis to see the same doctor."
When Laich has been able to stay healthy, he has contributed immensely and in turn has seen ice time with the Capitals' top line. In 51 games, Laich has tallied 15 points on eight goals and seven assists.
The Capitals currently trail the New York Rangers by two points in the standings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. Making the playoffs without Laich will be a tall enough task for the Caps. However, it is what they will have to do for Laich to have a realistic chance of playing again this season. In Laich's absence, the Capitals will turn to newly acquired left winger Dustin Penner and right winger/center Evgeny Kuznetsov for more offensive production.