If anyone, namely Dale Hunter, expected veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik to take his healthy scratch quietly, Thursday imploded that idea. The 37-year-old expressed frustration about the Washington Capitals coach, who criticized Hamrlik for giving up too many chances and committing a bad penalty Monday night.
“You should ask him about the penalties because when he played I think he make lots of penalties then himself, so he should know better,” Hamrlik told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “This is the game. Guys go on emotion time. I know I take bad penalty, but if it’s that reason I didn’t play, that’s his decision.”
Hunter explained exactly that, pointing to an early penalty by Hamrlik in the 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and too many scoring chances against. Hamrlik is a plus-11 player under Hunter, picking up his game immensely after being minus-10 with coach Bruce Boudreau.
But sitting out didn’t sit well with Hamrlik.
“It’s not fun time, especially when you’re older. You want to enjoy and have fun,” he said. “It’s a difficult time to play hockey when you know when you go to the game and you gonna make mistake you not gonna play. It’s not easy. It’s really difficult on your body and your mind.”
Hunter further explained Hamrlik’s spot in the press box when asked Thursday.
“He’s backing in way too much and letting the wave come through and they’re hitting the second tier,” he said. “So he’s making a few mistakes and [watching] video and sitting out is a humbling experience. We’ve all been through it if you’ve played hockey or any sport you’ve sat out and you just have to go to practice and work hard like he did today and watch video and learn from it.”
On the day he was scratched, RDS in Canada reported the Caps were shopping Hamrlik in advance of Monday’s trade deadline and that the veteran would welcome such a move.His agent, Petr Svoboda, told The Washington Times in an email that he had not yet requested a trade.
On Thursday Hamrlik gave the indication that he doesn’t want to get dealt.
“Hopefully stay here and make the team a lot better on the defense and hopefully make the playoffs and stay here,” Hamrlik said. “I don’t have reason to leave.”