Capitals forward Brooks Laich strolled into Kettler Iceplex on Thursday and greeted faces both old and new for the first time this season. But that he was doing so in January and not September remains a point of contention with Laich after the 113-day NHL lockout.

"I'm honestly really embarrassed by the lockout, like personally embarrassed," Laich said. "I feel terrible about it. I feel like we just punched our sport in the face. And I feel bad for everybody that was affected by it directly or indirectly."

Laich is nursing an apparent groin injury and kept his time on the ice limited Thursday, skating early by himself and leaving about 20 minutes after his 18 teammates took to the ice. He brushed off questions about his health and the injury that first arose in November while he played in Switzerland.

But he was willing to chat about the lockout and the damage done to the sport in its wake. The hope is fans will be forgiving. But Laich acknowledges that will take some time and effort from players and owners alike.

- Brian McNally