ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich left the first official practice of the season on Thursday with a left hip flexor injury after skating for roughly 10 minutes. He is considered day-to-day, but Laich said he isn't overly concerned about it being a long-term issue.
"It should come back fairly quickly and once I start to feel really good off the ice I'll go back on the ice," Laich said. "We'll monitor it day by day and it should come back fairly quickly."
Laich said he "tweaked" his hip flexor last Thursday during his first workout after returning to the Washington D.C. area from his home in Saskatchewan. He was adamant in saying the new injury is unrelated to the lingering groin injury he had last season that kept him out for all but nine regular season games and eventually required surgery prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He did not play in the postseason as the Capitals lost to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
"I had four and a half weeks of great skating back in Saskatchewan before I flew here and my first day on the ice here I tweaked the left hip flexor, it just caused me a little discomfort, enough to be concerned about it," Laich said. "I took a few days off here, skated again [Tuesday] and it just flared up again [Thursday]. That's the issue I'm dealing with, but completely non-related to anything I went through last year."
Laich said he has been undergoing acupuncture treatments to deal with the injury. He said he had a particularly aggressive acupuncture session Wednesday that caused some inflammation and may have contributed to the discomfort he felt on the ice Thursday.
He wasn't sure how he injured himself, but he wonders if it has something to do with the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex being softer than the ice he skated on back home in Saskatchewan.
"The ice back home is very hard and I came here and this ice is very soft," Laich said. "I was just skating, practicing with the guys, and felt it come on. That's why I'm not that concerned about it. It wasn't a severe hit or a violent hit that really jarred me. It was just a little tweak that came on and I think I'll be alright."
Laich, though, is admittedly frustrated. He called last season "completely miserable," but said he was 100 percent healthy with "full power, flexibility, stride, everything" until tweaking his hip flexor last week.
"My favorite part about playing hockey is skating," he said. "That's my favorite aspect of the game and when you can't do it, or are limited to doing it and going through pain doing it, it's very, very frustrating. But this isn't anywhere near what I went through last year."