SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 1: Brooks Laich #21 of the Washington Capitals checks Mike Weaver #43 of the Florida Panthers off the puck behind the net on February 1, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Capitals 4-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Brooks Laich did not practice Monday and his status for Tuesday's game against the Panthers is uncertain.
"He wants to play," Hunter said of Laich, whose status for Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers is uncertain. "He's day-to-day and it's not major, so it's just day to day and we'll see how it goes."
Laich injured his left leg during the second period of Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins after being checked into the boards by Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Laich could not place any weight on his leg as he was helped to the bench by teammates. At the next television timeout, Laich returned to the ice to test out his leg, but ultimately retreated to the locker room under his own power.
Hunter said that Laich was able to walk on his injured leg Monday (he left Verizon Center Sunday in a knee brace and crutches) and that he will be evaluated by a doctor Monday afternoon.
Without Laich, who has missed four games since the start of the 2007-08 season, the Caps reconfigured their forward lines accordingly:
Laich has his hand in many facets of Washington's game, including the power play, penalty kill and faceoff circle. With the possibility of missing Laich for the first time since March 30, 2010, Hunter said it will take a "committee" effort to replace him. Laich's teammates agreed.
"You don't try to replace him," Brouwer said. "Everybody's gotta bring a little bit more in their games. It's not like we can tell the player to be a Brooks Laich, so guys gotta help on draws, guys gotta help out in [the defensive zone]. He's a good, well-rounded player and guys have to try to pick up where he's out."