Joel Rechlicz, Capitals policeman

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Joel Rechlicz has become the Washington Capitals’ policeman. The big enforcer, only recently signed to an NHL contract, got called up Monday for a very simple reason: to keep San Jose Sharks tough guy Brad Winchester in line.

Winchester laid Alexander Semin out with a big hit in the teams’ meeting Jan. 7 in San Jose on a play that didn’t draw a penalty but obviously bothered coach Dale Hunter and the Caps.

“They had that Winchester. You guys were at the game there; he ran over Semin and Ovi had to jump in last game,” Hunter said. “So Winchester wasn’t a factor out there tonight.”

Winchester wasn’t a factor, and neither was Rechlicz, who played 1:30. Rechlicz’s most notable moment came as he was sitting on the bench and was given a 10-minute misconduct.

A clearly unhappy Rechlicz offered a series of “no comment” answers about that situation.

“No comment. Really, no comment,” he said. “I have nothing to say about it.”

But Hunter explained that Rechlicz jawing at Sharks forward Ryan Clowe drew the punishment, much to the Caps’ surprise.

“He just yelled at somebody, and the ref – I don’t know why he did that,” Hunter said. “That’s never happened before from what I seen. There’s always been chirping back and forth on the benches, but I don’t know why the ref called it.”

Rechlicz now has 10 penalty minutes in three games with the Caps and 5:56 of ice time.

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