When Brooks Laich signed his current deal back in July, Caps fans rejoiced at locking up (for a few years, at least), a guy who does some of the dirty work that - let's be honest - few of his teammates are willing to or capable of doing.
Laich is a penalty killer and a crease-crashing power play specialist, strong in the faceoff circle and great with a quote, and his 21-goal 2007-08 season was a revelation.
His scoring is down so far this year [Ed. note: if you missed that link earlier, go read it now - great stuff] and he enters tonight's game against the team that drafted him (and traded him to D.C. for Peter Bondra) with just five goals and on a 14-goal pace.
To be sure, he's doing plenty of other things to help the team win. His shot-blocking on one particular penalty kill in Los Angeles is the stuff of legends, and his versatility - even skating a few shifts on the blueline - has made him invaluable (not as if he wasn't already).
Is his current lack of goal-scoring a surprise? Yes and no. As we discussed back in July, Laich's shooting percentage last season was probably unsustainably high, and I pegged him at 16 goals for is season (many of you took the over). Laich has hit some posts and had at least one goal washed out upon review, so to a degree he's been snake-bitten. The question now is a simple one...