- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

OTTAWA — Roman Hamrlik was in an unfamiliar spot Wednesday night, watching the Washington Capitals lose from the press box. It was the 37-year-old defenseman’s first healthy scratch of the season, as coach Dale Hunter criticized Hamrlik’s play of late.

“You want him to be a defensive defenseman. He’s giving up too many chances, so he’s out of the lineup,” Hunter said Wednesday afternoon at Scotiabank Place. “Giving up too many scoring chances; he took a bad penalty last game. So we’re going to put someone else in.”

Hamrlik, who has a plus-11 rating in 33 games under Hunter, was only on the ice for six of the Caps’ past 24 goals against. He couldn’t be blamed for any of the other defensive blunders in the 5-2 defeat to the Ottawa Senators because he wasn’t in the lineup.

And according to a report from RDS, the Caps’ roster, not just lineup, could be without Hamrlik by Monday’s trade deadline if not sooner. The French-language sports outlet reported Wednesday that Washington is shopping the veteran and that Hamrlik would welcome a move.

Responding to an email seeking comment as to whether he has requested a trade agent, Petr Svoboda said: “No we haven’t done anything yet.”

Hamrlik could be sought-after by teams looking for leadership and shot-blocking. He has 119 blocks this season and in is well-respected in the NHL.

But trading Hamrlik could be an acknowledgment that the two-year, $7 million contract the Caps gave him was a mistake. Speed is lacking from his game at this point, but Hamrlik has been much-improved in recent months.

Off the tongue and in

One of the few bright spots in the Caps’ lopsided loss was a third-period goal by Mathieu Perreault. The young center was in pain after scoring, deflecting the puck in off his face.

Just the way he drew it up.

“My tongue was out, so it bounced off my tongue and in the net,” Perreault said. “These things happen when you go to the net. Not the way you want to get goals, but he hit me in the face and it went in.”

The goal was Perreault’s 10th of the season.

Ice chips

The Caps dropped to 1-2-1 this season in games played without Alex Ovechkin. This time it was a lower-body injury, though, not a suspension. … Perreault’s goal was just the second by a forward not named Ovechkin or Alexander Semin in the past seven games.