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Craig Laughlin Coaches the Caps

Here are some things I would like to see before I die:

1) Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz coaching the Wizards, with Buck feeling a strange compulsion to yell "Daggggerrrrrr!" four or five hundred times during layup lines while Chenier dispenses folksy advice to the equipment managers.

2) Sam and Sonny coaching the Redskins, with practice scheduled for 4:30 am so the coaching staff can get to Denny's in time for breakfast before working in a round of golf.

3) Charlie Slowes coaching the Nats, just so he can speak to them as if what he just saw was the craziest thing he had ever seen in his life!!??!! With hair-care advice provided by Don Sutton.

4) Dave Johnson coaching DCU, so he and Emilio can trade "It's In The Net!!!!!" calls. With authentic Spanish-sounding pronunciations provided by Tony Limarzi.

None of those things is likely to happen, at least until Susan O'Malley is put in charge of the world. But for two weeks, we do get to watch Caps color man Craig Laughlin coach the Caps, which is plenty good enough.

Captain Chris Clark asked "Locker" (yes, that's how it's spelled) to lead the vets through some drills last week and this, as they get ready for the start of preseason camp. Coaches, of course, are not allowed to supervise these drills, but the players like to have some structure to their work-outs, and they naturally turned to ice hockey's version of Chenier.

"Instead of just playing pond hockey, they want 45 minutes to an hour of structured drills: shooting drills, passing drills, stick-handling drills," Locker explained to me after yesterday's workout. "So I said sure, I'll come out and try to help out; whatever I can do....Hey, we all want this team to be successful. From my vantage point if they want me to help me out in these type of things, great. "

Locker has plenty of experience behind the bench; he spent a few games coaching Richmond of the ECHL, runs summer camps through the Network Hockey Development Program and currently guides the Chesapeake Chiefs. Who are, you know, 11 and 12-year old pee-wee players. Which is a bit different. What's odd, though, is that the NHL vets he's now coaching are asking him to help organize their entire practices.

"In fact, a lot of them want so much structure that they actually ask me, 'Now what exactly do you want me to do on this drill,' " Locker told me. "And I'm like, 'Okaaaaay. Welllllll. I want you to do this this and this.' It's an interesting experience. But their whole life is structured; being a professional athlete is so structured that they really feed on that, and they want to know. They want to do the drills right, and they want to do it at full speed."

Locker declined to identify any budding stars among the group, but his overall impression is that NHL players are a lot more impressive at ice level than they ever could be from the booth.

"Just amazing, the things they do that you don't see upstairs," he said. "I can sit up in the booth all I want, but when you're actually out at practice seeing how big, how fast....During practice I try to stand on the boards, because if you stand anywhere else, you're gonna get run over. Just effortless."

Anyhow, he's running the guys through shooting drills, passing drills, stick-handling drills and the like. On tap for today are odd-man situations; two-on-ones and three-on-twos. But my key question was, if this team surges to the top of the standings....

"I'll take all the credit, of course," Laughlin said. "That's my job. I'll go right to [PR guy Nate Ewell]: 'Get out a flier on the success we're having here.' "

And if the team, for some strange reason, has a slow start....

"It's Glen fault," Laughlin said. "It's never my fault. You know that, it's never my fault. It's the captain's fault and the coach's fault. I'm not the coach. I'm Craig Laughlin, Caps announcer."

And finally, does he have a future behind the bench in this league?

"Uhhh, no," he said. "Absolutely, unequivocally NO. N-O in big letters, no. No."

Which I took as a "maybe."

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 11, 2007; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Awesome stuff, Dan. You're getting us so fired up.

Posted by: just say OV | September 11, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

That's good stuff, thanks Dan. You're getting us so fired up for the start of the NHL season.

Posted by: just say OV | September 11, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I gotta get out and see some of this.

Posted by: false_cause | September 11, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see one last spin on the Sports Machine, with good ol' George giving a rousing F.U to Comcast and ESPN.

Posted by: | September 11, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan, I'm looking forward to seeing practice theis weekend.

Posted by: johnnym | September 11, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

A few years ago, the Penguins actually did hire their television color guy to be their head coach. That worked out about as well as you would have expected it to.

Posted by: norske | September 11, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Haha, those comments are vintage Locker.

Posted by: H H H! | September 11, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

You just can't BOG CAPS without mentioning Wiz.&Skins!


Posted by: WGDC- | September 11, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

traveler car insurance Bob's your uncle

Posted by: WILLIE | November 19, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Halcyon days

Posted by: ARIANA | November 28, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Battle royal

Posted by: PEPPER | November 29, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Battle royal

Posted by: PEPPER | November 29, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The fat of the land

Posted by: CASSIDY | November 29, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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