Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently threatened to stay in the KHL if the new collective bargaining agreement included a reduced share of revenues for players. If the Caps' star player leaves the team, who would don the "C" on his jersey?
Brooks Laich. That's who.
No. 21 isn't the superstar that Ovechkin is and he doesn't need to be. He has all the makings of a great captain. Laich has been with the Capitals franchise since 2003 and has emerged as one of the team's key leaders.
On the ice, Laich has become one of the most reliable players for the Capitals. He's excelled as a forward whether he played center or wing. This past season, we saw Laich step up and play defense when injuries depleted Washington's defensive lines.
In a Washington Post interview following the Nov. 12, 2011 game against the New Jersey Devils, Laich said "It’s always nice to learn it, I’ve never played a full game back on D so [I] take the experience as a positive."
He's more than a versatile player—Laich's attitude makes him an ideal leader. When Dale Hunter stepped down as head coach of the Capitals, Laich told NBC Sports "I just had a short chat with him and shook his hand and asked him if there’s anything I can do to convince him to stay." This short quote speaks levels of Laich's locker room leadership.
Laich is also the NHL Players Association representative for the Capitals. As such, Laich has been heavily involved in the labor disputes between the NHLPA and the owners.
Based on all that, it's hard to believe that Laich doesn't already wear a "C" on his sweater. If Ovechkin does decide to stay in Russia once the CBA is decided, the Caps need not look far for a new captain.