Brooks Laich gave a conference call to reporters after signing a new six-year, $27 million contract with the Washington Capitals earlier Tuesday morning. Laich said he never wanted to leave Washington and actually had a verbal agreement in place prior to last Friday's NHL Draft.
Here is a transcript of his remarks. You can listen to the whole call here.
On how the new deal was signed.
There was never a serious consideration to go anywhere else. When the season ended, I took some time off and got away from hockey for a little bit, and after that, I started talking to my family and my agent, and we started looking at our options. I talked with a few people in the organization, and after a few conversations with them, it was very evident that I wanted to return.
I gave my agent specific instructions that my main goal was to get back with Washington. That was the only consideration I really ever had, and the rest was up to him and Washington.
On why he stayed in D.C. over other Stanley Cup contenders
If you look at some of the other cup contenders, if you look at San Jose, if you look at Detroit, some of these other teams, their best players are already late in their 20s-early 30s. The core of our team and our most talented players is still young and still getting better.
On the need for the Capitals to stay patient
There were people talking about how if Boston lost in the first round, there would be big changes and stuff like that. It just goes to show patience is a virtue and patience wins out. It's a hard trophy to win, the Stanley Cup. Only one team can win, and that means 29 other teams are disappointed and questioning, 'Should we make changes here or there.' You just hope that eventually, your year is going to come around. For our guys, hopefully our year is close, and hopefully it's more than one year.
On whether he ever seriously considered signing elsewhere
[Washington and I] had a verbal agreement and everything intact before the NHL Draft. The draft was kind of my deadline. I wanted to get a deal done before the draft. I had no intention of going until July 1 or trying to push Washington right to the very edge. I just wanted to get a good fair deal, and I wanted to get it done before the draft, just so I knew I would be returning to Washington. At the draft, anything can happen.
I didn't want Washington to go to the draft with the feeling that, 'He's looking to test the market, he's probably not coming back, so we need to make a move to cover up the loss of him.' If that happened, I'd be pushed out the door and forced to go to free agency.
On what changes the team needs to make to have more playoff success
This year, there's got to be a lot more accountability from our players, to ourselves and to the coaches. Our coaching staff does a great job setting out the game plan, and it's up to every single player to adhere to that game plan. It's up to every single player -- doesn't matter how much you make, how long you've been here or what your name is -- to practice as hard as they can, to practice as a team, to work as a team. There's a lot of things where, sometimes when you're tested, things start to fray, little things like that. When you're tested, you have to be so tight, you have to rely on each other so much.
This year, we have to hold each other accountable a lot more. If we see a teammate not doing something that we want as a group that will lead to group success, we have to reign them in and hold everyone accountable.
On new Washington Capital Troy Brouwer
I think he's going to fit in so well with us. He's a young guy that comes in with energy. He's a physical guy. He can score, he can hit, he can block shots, power play, penalty kill. I think Troy is just what you call a 'player.'