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.
The moment came about midway through the Washington Capitals' 5-2 defeat to the Ottawa Senators: a perfectly executed odd-man rush and Craig Anderson robbed Marcus Johansson from point-blank range. The Caps just can't catch a break.
Even now when every Washington Capitals game is televised, players admitted playing in this spotlight was a big deal: On national television, against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers, at Madison Square Garden.
A third-period penalty on Artem Anisimov looked to be just what the Washington Capitals needed. Instead, some aggressive play and a bad bounce led to a New York Rangers short-handed goal that all but put the game out of reach.
It's Feb. 7 on the calendar, but Dale Hunter's theme of the past week, all about warm weather and important hockey, continued Tuesday.
The butterflies were going for defenseman Karl Alzner on Tuesday. The Washington Capitals already had lost two in a row with a showdown against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins looming.
Mathieu Perreault still felt the sting of shaving cream in his left eye. Alex Ovechkin was suspended for the game, but the Washington Capitals captain and expert of the shaving cream towel managed to catch the young French-Canadian forward by surprise.
It's funny what a little fresh, cold Canadian air can do to a Washington Capitals team that has struggled so mightily on the road this season.
David Steckel already was gone, and Boyd Gordon got his payday with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Washington Capitals needed a fourth-line center and faceoff specialist. Jeff Halpern needed a team.