Over the years, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich has gained a reputation as the team's de facto spokesman with the media in good times and in bad. When he speaks, it's assumed he speaks for the room.
So with Washington tied in points with the Buffalo Sabres for the No. 8 seed, but controlling its own destiny, Laich signaled on Wednesday that there's little doubt from the Caps that they'll make the postseason.
"We're making the playoffs. We're not talking worst-case scenario. We're making the playoffs," Laich told The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday morning, during his weekly spot.
"There's probably games in October that you wish you had or November or whatever. But over the course of 82 games, your team identity is gonna be revealed, and either you are or you aren't a playoff team. There's really no gray area."
When it was pointed out that Laich just sorta, kinda guaranteed a playoff spot, the veteran forward responded with … well, grumbly sounds and a spoonful of awkward silence.
But he didn't deny it, nor did he deny this is the kind of thing that'll be mentioned by both the Washington Post and Don Cherry eventually.
"Life becomes very simple this time of year guys," said Laich, deflecting. "You focus on the very next game. Today all we can control is out practice. Tomorrow we can focus on the game."
The Capitals face the Florida Panthers in a game that could end with Florida clinching the Southeast; or, both teams clinching a playoff spot; or one of the teams seeing their playoff fate pushed into the weekend.