On Friday November 9, the Washington Capitals will host their annual #CapsFightCancer night and feature a special guest to drop the puck before the game. Linda Laughlin, the wife of the Capitals color commentator Craig Laughlin for NBC Sports Washington, will participate in the ceremonial puck drop. Before Craig joins his parner in crime Joe Beninati in the broadcast booth to call the contest between the Capitals and Florida Panthers, he will escort Mrs. Laughlin onto the ice for the ceremony. Continue reading “Craig Laughlin’s Wife to Partake in Ceremonial Puck Drop for Caps Fight Cancer Night Nov. 9”
The Capitals will be on NBC Sports Washington again this season! The Caps announced that the local station will cover 77 games, including pre- and post-Game shows (which will now include Jason Rogers of Japers’ Rink Fame).
From the press announcement today:
NBCSW’s live coverage, including pregame and postgame shows, will continue to available to stream via NBCSportsWashington.com and the NBC Sports app. NBCSW’s live games will be led by Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati, game analyst Craig Laughlin and reporter Al Koken, who are entering their 22nd consecutive season together. Analyst Alan May will again contribute regularly to game coverage. Caps Pregame Live and Caps Postgame Live will be led by May and Rob Carlin, with regular appearances by Brent Johnson. Caps FaceOff Live and Caps Overtime will be hosted by 106.7 the Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Johnson, as well as other contributors.
They also announced the full round-up of local Caps-related coverage planned for the season:
The Capitals Radio Network will provide live audio of every game this season. 106.7 The Fan, one of the region’s strongest radio signals, will again serve as the flagship station, with WFED 1500 AM and Caps Radio 24/7, the team’s 24-hour streaming audio channel, continuing as AM and online homes of the Capitals Radio Network, respectively. The Capitals Radio Network includes 14 different stations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Play-by-play announcer John Walton will return for his eighth season calling the action, while former Capital Ken Sabourin enters his 16th season as analyst.
Capitals Radio Network coverage will include 15 minutes of pregame and 30 minutes of postgame coverage, highlighted by player interviews and live audio of head coach Todd Reirden’s postgame press conference. The pregame and postgame shows will be hosted by Ben Raby.
Caps Radio will still provide great coverage available of Hershey Bears and Stingrays games too:
Caps Radio 24/7 also streams live audio of select Hershey Bears and South Carolina Stingrays games, as well as Caps Talk. Hosted by Raby weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., Caps Talk features the latest news and interviews with players, coaches and media members. Caps Radio 24/7 also includes round-the-clock news updates, player interviews and music selected by players, coaches, fans and staff. Caps Radio 24/7 can be accessed, free of charge, via the Caps Mobile App radio button, the TuneIn radio app and online at CapsRadio24/7.com.
NBC previously announced that they would provide coverage of four games while NBCSN will air eight games.
And in case you missed it:
Some people don't know this, but I've never made a cent from any of this hockey stuff. I do it because that's what you do if you want to make it.
— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) September 11, 2018
The full broadcast schedule:
If you follow Washington Capitals hockey then you know the voice and commentary by Craig Laughlin on NBC Sports Washington. “Locker,” as he is known by his fans, played six seasons with the Caps in the 1980’s before retiring from playing hockey in 1989. We say retiring from playing because Craig has never retired from hockey! For him, hockey is clearly “in his blood.”
Craig began his NHL career as a 10th round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1977. Another “face of the Capitals,” Hall of Famer Rod Langway was part of the 1977 draft, also selected in the second for Montreal. Laughlin played 36 games with them and ended the season with 23 points. The 25-year old right wing made the transition to the Caps in 1982, along with Langway. They joined up with some of the most notable players in Capital’s history, including Bob Carpenter and Mike Gartner. By the end of his first season he had recorded 44 points, seventh highest on the roster. This was the team that led the Capitals to the playoffs in 1983, for the first time in franchise history. Locker played in all four games and scored his first playoff goal in the process!
Craig Laughlin went to the big show seven times but never made it to the final round with the Washington Capitals, the LA Kings, or Toronto Maple Leafs who he played for in 1987-88 and !988-89 respectively. He scored six goals and had six helpers for a total of 12 points in 33 games. He played a total of 549 NHL games in his career and ended with a nice 341 points (136 G 205 A). An all-around solid player, in his high three seasons he scored 20, 22, and 30 goals. He understands how difficult a hurdle it has been for the current legion of Capitals to make the leap to the final round.
1982 was a time of change for the Washington Capitals. Ted Starkey wrote about owner Abe Pollin’s vision to turn things around for the Caps. According to Starkey, Pollin had four criteria to meet to secure the future of the team, which was playing in Landover:
A season-ticket base of 7,500, (an increase of nearly 70 percent over the 4,200 the team had in 1981-82;
Selling out the team’s first 10 games;
Having the Capital Centre’s rent reduced by the arena’s bondholders;
And Prince George’s County reducing the entertainment tax on Capitals tickets from 10 percent to 0.5 percent for the next three years.
Craig Laughlin was part of the team that turned the tide and made hockey an exciting sport in the District-Maryland-Virigina (DMV) area. Those years with the Caps left an imprint on his life. Although he went on to play with other teams, he was drawn back to Washington, writing articles for the Washington Times and with his wife Linda’s encouragement accepted an offer from Home Team Sports which later became CSN. And as they say, the rest was TV history! Caps hockey would not be the same without Locker and his buddy JoeB. Chcek out the video from the 1996-97 talking about Adam Oates and Peter Bondra.
The analysis and color commentary he provides night after night for the Washington Capitals has forever endeared him to the Caps Community. He may not always get the names right – we have gotten used to BEAR -a-kovsky for Andre Burr-a-kov-ski. Maybe it is just all part of his way of giving players and friends little nicknames. Either way – fans love his game calling and he and Joe Beninati were seriously missed by fans during the final round. Not to fear, Craig shared his excitement on Twitter:
In the video “Growing Up Hockey” with former CSN reporter Jill Sorenson, Craig talked about his start skating at the young age of three and the way his dad created ice for him in the backyard. He talks about the passion his father had and that he clearly passed on to his son. Craig has passed that enthusiasm to his daughter Courtney who plays hockey and can often be seen on NBC Sports Washington as well. This is a true hockey family and they are a part of the Capitals history and of their future as well.
Craig, as seen in this video with studio mate Alan May, puts his time and energy in developing young players and helping them to realize their dreams. He is often part of the hockey camps at Kettler Ice Plex and around the DMV. He has worked with the young children to college-age skaters, sharing his experience and expertise to help them hone their skills. And as you can see from the video, he does it with the same enthusiasm we hear on the air and the same positive energy that encourages success. Craig, and his wife Linda, work year round educating players through their educational program: Network Hockey Development Program (NHDP). They work with PeeWee AA to professional athletes, educating, coaching, and advising aspiring players.
You can be sure that if his fellow alumi are in town or hosting an event, he will be hanging out with them – laughing it up and having a good ol’ time! If you are up at Kettler for practice or see Locker walking around Capital One Arena, be sure to say “hey” and tell him how much you appreciate what he has done and is doing for hockey in the DMV. And be sure to tell him how much you love his commentary. He’s a great guy and we are blessed to have him as part of our community.
Sports journalist Ben Raby and Craig Laughlin have a new book coming out in November 2017. You can preorder your copy today for $10.16 from Amazon.com.
This promises to be a great read for old-time and brand-new Capitals fans. Ben covers the background to many time-honored traditions.
Here’s the official description:
By Brittney Marcum
Hockey N’ Heels 2017, hosted by Courtney Laughlin, was in my opinion, much improved from 2016. The previous year the Caps only used one of Kettler’s rinks; however, this year they utilized both, making the sessions much less rushed and giving us time to truly enjoy them.
Once again there were three on-ice sessions, as well as three off-ice. First up, our group (the red group) went to learn about face-offs from the legend Rod Langway. He explained to us how to hold the stick as well as why players get thrown out and replaced at the circle. We had so much fun going against each other and unleashing our inner Jay Beagle!!
Next on the agenda was a lesson in goalie skills from the man behind the beast, Coach Mitch Korn. Mitch explained to us the importance of the different pieces of goalie equipment and gave us directions on how to use them. We even got take a go at playing goalie for ourselves. We also spoke to him about how long goalies really have to react to those pucks flying at them from all angles and his responses were astonishing. He said that goalies watch video of players on other teams shooting so that they know what to expect come game time.
Our last on-ice activity was broom ball with Daniel Winnik and Nate Schmidt. Our half of the group was playing alongside Dan Winnik who explained we really needed to moonwalk while playing as to not fall over on our butts… If you must know I definitely fell on mine. Nate Schmidt was really getting into it which made it that much more enjoyable for everyone involved.Brett Connolly and Philipp Grubauer hosted similar groups on the other side of the ice.
The off-ice sessions included a chat with Chef Robert Wood (SuperFd and Eco Catering) who has an AWESOME cookbook coming out, including recipes from the Caps better halves. The food he cooked up for the evening was delicious[ the shrimp- pineapple skewers were my personal fave! We also got the opportunity to talk with Coach Trotz about his thoughts on how the team is doing and who their biggest competitor is. In case you were wondering he said it was the Blackhawks, and we all know how that went. The third off-ice session was a chat with Caps Alumni Craig Laughlin, Paul Mulvey, and Rod Langway. We discussed the expansion draft and the biggest changes they have seen in the game since they played.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and recommend anyone trying it at least one time.
We want your input! Let us know what you thought of the event good or bad!
Saturday Arianna told you about her experience with Craig and Courtney Laughlin during the Capitals Social Night. As bloggers, sports photographers, and sports broadcasters in training, it was a real treat for us as non-credentialed bloggers to see where we aspire to sit! We were escorted by Megan Garner, Director of Marketing throughout the tour.
Walk with us down the hall:
Craig, Courtney, and James Heuser, Director of Digital Media for the Capitals were gracious hosts. From the moment we stepped on the elevator with Eric, we were full anticipation to see where our local idols call home during games. We made our way down the hall to the media area where Courtney warmly greeted us. Her dad joined us shortly after we arrived.
Craig took us down to the CSN suite and where he makes magic happen. Asked if he stands during the broadcasts, he explained that they try to stand as much as possible but at times he has to manage his notes and the computer so he ends up sitting down quite a bit. The view was great from his area, much better than we imagined. Locker said they have to vacate the space when NHL or NBC take the lead broadcasting Caps games.
Everyone who has a role in bringing fans closer to the game experience has an suite and we were able to see some of those as we walked around. We saw where snacks are set and information is shared with the media. We had a look down on the ice from the press box as well as the screen where the media get a closer perspective of the game.
There was some great teasing between daughter and father about the social media gap. Courtney is doing her best to train her dad on the many nuances of tweeting and Craig said he is still waiting to figure out Instagram and Snap Chat. It was pretty comical. That said, CSN is committed to engaging with fans more on social media and Courtney explained that they really do want more fan input during the many shows on CSN. Craig was especially excited about Facebook live!
We really appreciated the opportunity to see behind the curtain of the Caps media machine. Even Sergey Kockarov, VP of Communications (and PR guru on twitter) joined us for a bit. We also have a new appreciation for the preparation and hard work that go into giving the fans the best viewing experience possible.
Stay tuned for an interview soon with Courtney. Let us know what you would like us to ask.In the meantime. stick tap to all those behind the scene personnel.
Although tonight didn’t have the outcome that Caps fans hoped for, the Capitals Social Night wasn’t a total loss. Before the doors were opened to the public, a few dozen fans were brought up to the press box to hang out with Craig and Courtney Laughlin.
All the way up on the sixth floor of the Verizon Center, fans got a tour of the press box from Locker himself, even getting to go inside the broadcasting booth.
Afterwards, there was a small Q&A with him and his daughter about social media and how important it is to their jobs.
Fans were given commemorative pucks, a free six-month subscription to Monumental Sports Network, and lots of selfies with the Laughlins. Overall, it was a hilarious and fun thirty minutes that all of the fans appreciated. Especially to hear Locker try and explain how he is learning to use social media from Courtney!
On January 12, Scarlet Caps hosted Hockey N’ Heels. Although there is some controversy about the event name, it is an opportunity to bring more women into the hockey fandom. This event taught all aspects of the game including: face-offs and slap shots, player nutrition, information about equipment. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the pros and to make new friends.
I’ve been to Hockey N’ Heels in the past and have been impressed with what I learned from players, coaches, and even the other fans I met. As this wasn’t my first rodeo, I was the resident expert in my group of friends (or so I labeled myself), which included the ladies from FiCP: Brittney, Renee and me, as well as my mom. My mom even got interviewed by Fox5 and was on the 11 o’clock news. She thinks she’s a big shot now! Once we checked in we were put into four different groups– we naturally Rocked the Red as the Red Group. Continue reading “Photos From Behind the Scenes of Hockey N Heels”