Joel Rechlicz wasn’t even around long enough to get a Washington Capitals equipment bag. Two games, 4:16 of ice time and on Friday the muscle-bound enforcer was placed on waivers with the intention of sending him back to the Hershey Bears.
“Well, he’s on waivers more than anything else to give us some more room if somebody got hurt or something,” coach Dale Hunter said.
Rechlicz was signed to a one-year, two-way NHL deal just Monday.
“They just sent me down to get more ice,” Rechlicz told The Washington Times. “Just go down and play hard and hopefully come back here.”
Rechlicz played a total of 4:16 in two games this past week. He had no penalty minutes and no fights.
“He was vocal and he took the body and on the road there there was no physicality going on or nothing,” Hunter said. “He took care of that, so he was a force out there.”
Rechlicz’s NHL salary is $525,000, and the Caps’ roster stands at 22 players with Thursday’s recall of Keith Aucoin and demotion of Cody Eakin.
Any NHL team can claim him before noon Saturday.
But the 24-year-old fighter was told the Caps might want him back soon.
“Yeah, I might come back for the next weekend games,” Rechlicz said. “Just go down, work hard, get some ice and stay positive.”
Life in the NHL treated Rechlicz well, though.
“It’s been good. I’ve just got to keep working hard. Keep everything simple on the ice and just keep a positive attitude,” he said. “I’m here to work. Just go down with a positive attitude and hopefully I come right back.”
It seemed to make sense that Rechlicz’s recall coincided with the Caps’ rematch with Rene Bourque and the Montreal Canadiens. He said Thursday he hoped he’d be in the lineup to see Bourque, who knocked out Nicklas Backstrom with a cheap-shot elbow Jan. 3.
“No, no, no,” Hunter said. “it was just ‘cause we were on the road and we wanted to get stronger on the road.”
Saturday’s game, for what it’s worth, is also listed as a road game.