Roman Hamrlik’s absence from the Washington Capitals’ lineup will likely end Friday night. Finally healthy after a lower body injury, Hamrlik said he’s “cleared to go.”
“I want to be 100 percent and it feels like it, and I’m ready to go today,” Hamrlik said.
Coach Dale Hunter confirmed that Hamrlik would be back in.
“Roman, he’s a veteran, he’s been around a long time. We need him back in there to play good defense,” Hunter said. “We need him in there to block shots. He’s one of the best shot-blockers, so he should give us a lift tonight.”
Hamrlik missed the past four games but has been skating since Monday in Sunrise, Fla., but the 37-year-old said he wasn’t comfortable to play earlier this week.
“I don’t want to push,” he said. “Obviously it would be different story if you can play in the playoffs, stuff like that. I would probably go and play.”
Hamrlik has one goal, a minus-10 rating and 18 penalty minutes this season.
“The points and the minus or plus whatever, it is what it is and I know I can be better and just focus – play better defense,” Hamrlik said. “Get my game back and play simple out there.”
Hamrlik, who denied the injury being related to the groin problem that bothered him early in camp, knows what to expect when coming back into the lineup.
“I’ve been in situation before and I haven’t played a few days,” Hamrlik said. “I have to focus on my game, make the first pass and get some confidence early in the game and go from there.”
This is Hamrlik’s 19th NHL season, a fact that has not escaped Hunter when talking about adjusting to this new system.
“He’s been around a long time,” the coach said. “I expect a veteran like him that, I imagine through the years he’s played every system there is. He should be fine with it.”