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“Good,” he said. “Let’s start with that.”

Why not a goat? Why not start small? The Caps are 2-7-1, and the season is almost a quarter of the way over.

“No, I’m starting big,” Beagle said. “There’s no time for starting small. It’s big.”

Hamrlik ‘working hard’

Oates praised defenseman Tom Poti’s play in the Maple Leafs game, and it looks like the same six will play on the blue line against the Penguins.

That means 39-year-old Roman Hamrlik is expected to be a healthy scratch for the eighth straight game. Oates said that Hamrlik will “get his chance,” but cited the play of the defensemen in the lineup more than anything the veteran needs to do.

“I felt good, pretty good, the first three games I played,” Hamrlik said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Hamrlik could struggle when he returns to the lineup if he spends several weeks out. But for now all he can do is practice patience.

“Obviously just keep working, keep working hard in the practices,” Hamrlik said. “I’ve been in this situation many times, especially last year with Dale [Hunter]. Now it’s new system and I’m in the same track. Stay positive and keep working hard and hopefully I’m gonna get a chance to play again.”