The Washington Times - October 4, 2011, 10:14PM

John Erskine isn’t trying to trick anyone. But despite the absence of a no-contact jersey again at Tuesday’s practice, the big Capitals defenseman has not been cleared to take contact.

He said afterward that he probably won’t be cleared for two more weeks.

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OK, we’ll stop asking for a while.

With Erskine out of commission and Dmitry Orlov sent to Hershey, the Caps will start the season with just six defensemen.

“Right now we have six and they’re healthy, so it’s the same situation with Orlov and [Sean] Collins,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If they’re not going to play because these six are going to play, we’d rather have them playing in Hershey than sitting and watching games here, because you can always just recall them at anytime.”

Neither player nor Patrick McNeill needs to clear re-entry waivers to rejoin the team.

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Matt Hendricks and Jeff Halpern were both bleeding during practice, but neither fourth-liner left the ice. Hendricks blamed his substantial cut above his right eye on a collision with the dasher.

Both players were OK.

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Mathieu Perreault got to celebrate making the Caps on Tuesday, but that celebration may have included some scissors.

“Hopefully he’s not like Sampson, because he is going to get his haircut,” Boudreau said.