The Washington Times - March 11, 2012, 08:55PM

In the rotating roulette wheel that is the Washington Capitals’ healthy scratch forward spot, Jeff Halpern was the loser starting Saturday at the Boston Bruins and again Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 35-year-old wasn’t on the ice for pregame warm-ups at TD Garden, and a team spokesman soon confirmed that Halpern was indeed a healthy scratch.


Halpern has been dealing with a nagging injury for parts of the season, but it never seemed to be enough to force him out of the lineup. He was a healthy scratch for one game under coach Bruce Boudreau but not under Dale Hunter until this weekend.

Asked following the Caps’ 2-0 victory over Toronto why he took Halpern out of the lineup, Hunter pointed to Keith Aucoin.

“We took him out, I wanted to get the power play, Keith getting on the power play and play center there [on the fourth line],” the coach said.

Aucoin got plenty of time on the power play Sunday, but the problem is that he wasn’t put in the lineup to replace Halpern. Mike Knuble was. And Halpern hadn’t taken up a spot on the power play.

Halpern is ranked third in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 58.3 percent.