The Capitals forwards were rotating in and out of 5-on-5 battle drills Saturday when Brooks Laich jumped into the rotation.

Normally, the 29-year-old forward would body check his opponent into the boards, separate him from the puck, and skate away with it.

But for the first time in his NHL career, Laich’s body is unable to do what his mind asks of it Slowed by a groin injury that has hampered him for almost three months, Laich hesitated, went into the corner cautiously, lost the puck and skated away shaking his head.

“There's a lot of injuries you can play through -- and I've played through a lot in my career -- but a lot of those are just about handling the pain,” Laich said. “You are still able to be effective if you can control the pain.

"The injury that I currently have is a little different. If I was on the ice [playing], I wouldn't be effective for our team. I wouldn't be able to help our team win. And I would never go out on the ice if I was going to be detrimental to our team.

“Right now, I would love to play, but I can't physically help our team win. I’m doing a disservice by playing. It’s not a question of how tough you are. It’s very limiting.”