At Friday’s practice, Semin was skating on the fourth line along with Mike Knuble, Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward, while Keith Aucoin was on the second line.
“Just trying different line combinations,” coach Dale Hunter said, not biting on the suggestion that Aucoin had earned a promotion.
“He had a chance in overtime — a great chance — and we need him to score,” the Capitals‘ coach said. “We need him to put up numbers and play good defensively.”
“You can’t turn pucks over against these teams like Tampa Bay that play that style. You’ve got to chip and chase,” he said. “You want to dangle guys and it looks good on TSN but you turn pucks over, it’ll cost you games.”
Hamrlik or Erskine?
With Mike Green beginning a three-game suspension Saturday, Washington needs another defenseman in the lineup. The logical candidates are Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine, who have both been healthy scratches lately.
Hamrlik has been a healthy scratch for eight straight games after committing a bad penalty and then firing back at his coach for that reasoning. Erskine last played Feb. 12 at the New York Rangers.
Neither player had any clue who would get the call.
“It’s me and Ersky, so we will see who he’s going to put in the lineup,” Hamrlik said. “[If it’s me], I’ll just play the way I played before.”
Hunter, speaking Friday morning before Green’s suspension was announced, didn’t know who would step in.
“We haven’t decided yet,” he said. “The cart before the horse.”