The Caps Really Like Playing Hockey, a Lot
So a few days ago, Post hockey editor Lindsay Applebaum and I were talking to some Caps players about how long they need to wait during the offseason before they're ready to play hockey again. Some said a few weeks. Some said longer. Some said they stay away entirely until the preseason starts.
Then we talked to Brooks Laich. He said he takes a vacation, leaves the ice for about three weeks, and then is ready to go. So just one morning, I wondered, does he wake up and say, "Yeah, I feel like playing hockey today?"
"I wake up every morning and say that," he said. "If I had one day to live, it would start with probably some hockey in the morning, and then do whatever the rest of the day."
Haha, I thought. Except he wasn't technically joking.
"Players play because they love the game," Laich continued. "If I had one day to live, I would play hockey, for sure, at some point in the day."
Look, my job is fine and all, but if I had 24 hours left on this earth, there's no way in hell I'd be anywhere near Movable Type, nor would I be transcribing Clinton Portis radio interviews, editing photos of DeShawn Stevenson's neck tattoos or wondering why Junior Seau was at Caps practice.
(Read more on that here. "You don't want none of this Ovi," Seau said to Ovechkin.)
But seriously, who does their job with 24 hours to live?
"Why not?" Eric Fehr asked. "It wouldn't be here, it would be outside on a pond. And it wouldn't be with fans watching, that's for sure."
But your job?
"Well, what else are you gonna do?" Fehr asked. "Shinny hockey, no body contact, just kind of going around, doing some sweet moves and some nice plays and just having a good time."
"This isn't a job, it's something we enjoy," Laich said. "And that's why you see our players smiling on the ice."
So yeah, he kind of forced me into the bad high school yearbook question of asking his teammates whether he was nuts, or whether, with 24 functioning hours left, they'd actually be on the ice instead of, say, playing mini golf in Ocean City.
"No, probably not," Brian Pothier said. "Brooksie's a single guy with no family. Priorities change a little bit. I love to play hockey, and I love my job, but 24 hours isn't much time. So I would have to probably opt out of that."
"Really?" Mike Knuble said, when we told him what Laich had said. "Really? He's a lot younger than me. He hasn't played as long. Yeah, no, probably not, to be honest."
But Laich and Fehr weren't close to the only players who said they'd make time for a little skating in their final day.
"There's no question," Brendan Morrison said. "I mean, it's ingrained in me. If I knew I had one day to live, I'd get all my family, all my best friends out and have a game of shinny, for sure. That's a part of me. Growing up in Canada, we start skating at age 2, start playing hockey at age 5. I mean, for a lot of us, this is all we know....I mean, there'd be a lot of other things on that list too, I'd have a busy day, but I'd slide somewhere in there."
"For me it would be probably at home with my buddies and my dad and people in my family on the outdoor rink," Matt Bradley said. "Because those are still some of my fondest memories, in the winter, going to the outdoor rink, playing pickup, just having fun and enjoying it. That would probably be something I'd want to do, too."
"Absolutely, I would have to go skate, yeah," Mike Green said. "It's not like a job. It's not a job when you love to do what you do. I mean, we're fortunate people. Athletes are fortunate people that get to do what they love. And if you don't, then you shouldn't be playing this game."
(What else made these lists? Bradley said he'd get in a few holes at Augusta National. Fehr said he'd go bungee jumping or try to drive a car a thousand miles an hour. "I'd probably jump out of a plane with a parachute, because if the chute doesn't go, you're going anyway, right?" Knuble said. And Laich said he'd jump out of a plane, but without a parachute.
"If you're gonna die after 24, might as well jump out at 23:59, no?" he asked.)
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