At least as of late Saturday night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning, the Capitals haven’t offered many details about the injury that knocked Roman Hamrlik out of Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils.
The 37-year-old defenseman played just 9:22 against New Jersey, with his final shift coming from 2:51 left in the second to 1:27 remaining. But with so little concrete information together, details need to be pieced together to figure out what happened.
Here’s what coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game when asked what happened to Hamrlik:
“He’s day to day. He got a cross-check and he’s fine. He was not fine enough to play, but he, from what I’ve been told, is day-to-day.”
Watching video of Hamrlik’s final few shifts, there are two possible times when he could have gotten hurt. The first was with 2:06 left in the first, when David Clarkson followed a high check on Hamrlik along the left wall as the defenseman gave up the puck.
Hamrlik did not return to the ice again until 14:41 left in the second.
The other possible play occurred with 13:07 left in the second. Hamrlik followed the puck to the left boards in the Caps’ defensive zone when forechecking Devils rookie Vladimir Zharkov skated across the zone to hit Hamrlik along the visiting bench area. Hamrlik went straight to the bench as the puck went up ice.
There was then another long delay until Hamrlik came back for a 45-second shift with 5:41 left in the second and then a 1:24 shift with 2:51 left. He did not appear to take a cross check on either one.
His absence on the bench was noticed in the third period, and in the waning minutes of regulation the Caps announced he would not return.
Of the two hits, neither seemed particularly vicious or harmful, and there’s no immediate reason to jump to thinking Hamrlik’s injury is a serious one. But it is worth noting that innocent plays often cause problems just as much as memorable ones.
The Caps have Sunday off (read: no contact with reporters). We should know more about Hamrlik’s status Monday.