WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Washington Capitals missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons in 2014, resulting in the dismissal of the team’s head coach and general manager, hasn’t falling on deaf ears within the locker room, at least not with Brooks Laich.
Laich, in speaking with Dan Rosen for NHL.com, offered a hard dose of honest reflection on how the Caps’ failure last season should affect the locker room for the better, and may have been the best possible outcome for the future of the team.
“My honest opinion is not making the playoffs last year might have been the greatest day going forward for our organization, because I really think it made us all take a look in the mirror and at our failures and why were are failing,” Laich said. “If we would have made the playoffs and lost in the first or second round, it would have been the same old story, but you wouldn’t have had that hard, brutally honest look at yourselves to realize why you are failing.”
With Adam Oates and George McPhee gone, “Now the onus is on us,” Laich said. “The coach has changed numerous times, but for the vast majority of us, we’re the same players, and we need to be better. The core guys, the guys that have been there for eight, nine years, need to establish that right away.”
Laich went on to say the team, including the longtime core of himself, Mike Green, Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin needs to “adapt, change and buy in” to new coach Barry Trotz’s system “right away.”
“We cannot go through the year, get to the playoffs, make it to the first or second round and say, ‘OK, that’s good enough, we now know our coach and our general manager and our system and what’s expected of us,” Laich said. “We can’t burn this year. We need to win this year.”
Read the full piece over at NHL.com.