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Getting To Know: Craig Laughlin

Get to know Craig Laughlin - who played for Montreal, Washington, Los Angeles and Toronto - in this Q&A that talks about his most memorable and embarrassing NHL moments, and more.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Status: NHL right winger (1981-1989) for Montreal, Washington, Los Angeles and Toronto. Currently serves as a TV analyst for the Washington Capitals game broadcasts.

HT: 6-foot  WT: 190 pounds

DOB: Sept. 1, 1957 In: Toronto

First Hockey Memory: "My backyard in Toronto, my dad built a rink. Four or five years old. Stepping on the ice with an old pair of skates."

Hockey Inspirations: "Toronto Maple Leafs. All the great players that went through there. George Armstrong. Tim Horton. I always liked Eddie Shack because he was the entertainer. I used to love watching Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday. Those were my favorite times. And Montreal Canadiens. Those two teams were my key teams."

Last Book Read: "New Bobby Orr book."

Favorite Uniforms: "Out of the Original Six - Montreal, Toronto. Washington Capitals. And I played for the Los Angeles Kings and our uniforms were a little different at the time, but I enjoyed them, too."

Greatest Sports Moment: "First goal at the Montreal Forum, ever. My first goal at the Forum. Can't beat that. Against the Calgary Flames, from Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson. It's one of my only goals I remember because it's on the wall in my office."

Most Painful Moment: "Injuries. Tearing up my knee in an Islander playoff series when I was with the Caps. Hit by Duane Sutter, or one of the Sutter boys. I think it was Duane, not Brent. And that was when we lost in Game 7 when (Pat) LaFontaine scored that goal. Painful. (You were in the arena for goal?) Oh yeah. That's what actually got me into broadcasting. I had to do every interview because it was me, (Mike) Bossy, bunch of guys that were hurt that game for both teams. And we just kept doing interview after interview because he was four or five overtimes so they were always looking for someone to talk to. So we happened to be the guys and that got me into the broadcasting booth in the future."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "Happened in practice when our line was sort of all over the place and crisscrossed and I remember I got leveled by Alan Haworth, my linemate, trying to crisscross across the blueline which was pretty embarrassing [smiles]."

Most Memorable Goal: "Either the first one or our first win in the playoffs against the Islanders when I somehow found my way around Denis Potvin and I beat Billy Smith top shelf. That would be one of my other goals that I remember well."

Closest Hockey Friends: "All my guys that I'm in the broadcasting booth with, I guess. We don't have a lot of people still who still hang out. Greg Adams, my linemate, Alan Haworth, my linemate. Guys like that, who I had a long time in Washington with, are my closest friends, but they're still not around that much because we don't have that many guys who live in Washington now."

Funniest Players Encountered: "Dave Shand. Larry Murphy. And I got back - Borje Salming was quite funny. He doesn't say a whole lot, but he was a funny man. Dale Hunter was one of our best, funny guy with pranks."

Funny Hockey Memory: "What made me actually laugh, and I still laugh about it, probably the funniest thing ever, was when we came back off a road trip and Dale Hunter had put all the rookies’ cars up on blocks. And they all got in them - late road trip - and they turned them on, and of course the tires spin. And we're all pulling back. But they didn't realize that he had put them on four blocks. So the tires were spinning about a quarter of an inch from the ground. That was funny. And the second funniest thing ever was in L.A. when I played there and when either Luc Robitaille or Jimmy Carson scored his 50th goal. Larry Playfair, by the way, is one of the funniest guys ever, and when he came in the locker room, the guys that were in there had cut No. 50 in his Versace suit. And I thought that was pretty cool. And I laughed my butt off. Boy, that was hilarious with the big No. 50 in the back of Jimmy's suit. Or it was either Jimmy or Lucky's suit, Robitaille or Carson. So that was a fun time."

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: "Tennis. Love it."

Strangest Game: "As far as being a young player - at The Corral in Calgary when the benches were not normal hockey benches. They were three tiers. So I remember sitting on the top tier, three rows behind my coach, who stood in the front, sort of like a Russian coach. And Bob Berry, I remember, yelled up, 'Laughlin, you're up.' And I had to jump over three things, and at the time the boards in the Calgary Saddledome were higher than normal boards. So players couldn't really jump because you fell so far down. So one door on our bench. So I remember trying to navigate myself through. I was a young player and I was so excited to get out on the ice. And finally I got on the ice. I'm sure we were playing 5-on-4 for a stint there. Bob Berry yells, “LAUGHLIN, GET OUT THERE.” And I remember crawling over the different levels of benches. That's strange [chuckles]."

Three Athletes You Like To Watch And Follow: "Rafael Nadal. (Roger) Federer. I love watching the Baltimore Ravens, guys like Ray Rice. Washington Redskins, RGIII (Robert Griffin III). Any great player like that, who is local to my area, I sort of hook onto those guys. And then Peyton Manning I love too when it comes to the NFL."

Lasting Memory From Career: "Probably going to Washington from Montreal. And having the opportunity to be a part of the Caps. When we arrived from Montreal after our big trade - and I was sort of a throw-in guy that everybody didn't mention - and it was (Rod) Langway, (Doug) Jarvis, (Brian) Engblom - three unbelievable talents. And we came from Montreal. And I remember getting traded right before training camp, and we were going to Washington. Washington? I remember Langway and I were sitting on the plane...we're going to the capital of the United States. And it was 'Save The Caps' campaign at the time, because they weren't sure if they were even going to have the team. So that would probably be the biggest thing that turned around my life and that's the fact that we were able to continue the tradition of hockey that had been there since 1974 and we did not let it go away. And now, it's one of the strongest franchises in the NHL."

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Respect. Energetic people. Truthful. Dedicated. Communication skills, too."

Scoop Malinowski is the author of “Facing Federer: Symposium of a Champion.”



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