Laich: 'I'm pretty excited right now'
Capitals forward Brooks Laich skated with his teammates for a second straight day Thursday as he continues to recover from a groin injury that has sidelined him since April 4.
“Felt really good, certainly better than [Wednesday] – more power, more explosion, more range of motion, functionality all of that,” Laich said after practice. “I’m pretty excited right now, felt really good.”
Thursday’s practice marked the fifth straight day that Laich has skated, but there is still no timetable for his return to the Washington lineup.
The 29-year-old said that despite his progress, there is still work to be done before he’s cleared to play.
Laich, who was limited to nine games during the regular season, is hopeful that in the days ahead he can “get more up to full practice speed and be able to adjust to game speed.
“Sometimes I think I’m superman a little bit but I need a little bit of work still. Then it’s up to the coaching staff. When the medical staff and myself feel that I can contribute and compete and not be a liability then it’s going to be up to the coaching staff, but leaving here today I’m a lot more optimistic.”
The list of injured Capitals grew by one Wednesday when left wing Martin Erat left Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers with an upper-body injury.
Erat will not play in Game 5 but Laich said that he can’t afford to return before he’s 100 percent regardless of any existing voids in the lineup.
“I don’t think that I can base myself off of that,” Laich said of Erat’s absence. “I don’t know Marty’s timeline or exactly what’s going on with him. But I said [Wednesday], I have to be able to contribute to the team and help the team win to be in the lineup and if I can’t do that regardless of who goes down then I’m not going to be a benefit to our team… If he’s out then I would really love to fill that role but if I can’t do it then I’m not going to put our team in jeopardy with that.”