The Washington Times - April 2, 2011, 12:25PM

Sean Collins admitted it’s been a while. Sure, the defenseman has NHL experience – 15 games with the Capitals back in the 2008-09 season.

Now he’s back and will be in the lineup Saturday night against the Sabres at Verizon Center, replacing John Erskine.

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“I’m just looking at it as an opportunity for myself,” Collins said Saturday morning from Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. “I just wanna come in and do whatever I can to help the team out – whether they play me 10 minutes or five minutes or 20 minutes, just play my game and help the team out.”

Collins got the call from the Hershey Bears over Patrick McNeill and Brian Fahey at least in part because of his previous experience and because the Caps have just one healthy right-handed defenseman (John Carlson). He had to clear waivers and did just that at noon Saturday.

“When we called him up two years ago for [15] games he played very good for us,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “So we’re hoping we can catch that lightning in a bottle again and see how it works out.”

Collins, who had a goal and an assist in that call-up, did say it helped his confidence to know he can play at the NHL level. The 27-year-old’s contract is up at the end of the season.

He’ll likely be paired with Tyler Sloan, and the two have a familiarity that will help, Collins said.

Boudreau also said it should help Sloan to be back on his natural side while playing with Collins.