- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 5, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Capitals yesterday reunited their checking line from last season and promoted one of their promising players from Hershey of the American Hockey League.

By mutual agreement, Ben Clymer will return to his right wing position, leaving Washington with six defensemen. The Caps also recalled high-scoring left wing Tomas Fleischmann from Hershey, filling a vacancy created when wing Richard Zednik was injured in the 4-3 loss to Atlanta on Friday night.

The move reunites Clymer with center Brian Sutherby and left wing Matt Bradley, the Caps’ top checking unit last season. The Caps hope Fleischmann can give them some much-needed scoring.

But the moves do not address, at least for now, the team’s biggest weakness — defense.

With Clymer moving up, Steve Eminger suited up last night against Philadelphia after being benched for two games for poor play. Eminger was paired last night with Bryan Muir, who had been a coaching scratch for seven games.

Clymer was drafted 27th overall as a defenseman after his sophomore season at Minnesota but was moved to forward with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played both spots last season with the Caps, concentrating on forward, but decided to return to defense this season to help bolster a unit that lacked depth. The experiment was not an overwhelming success — he was minus-5 defensively with two assists.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings and in the end we both just looked at each other” and agreed it was time to go back, coach Glen Hanlon said. “He felt his calling was as a forward. He enjoys it more.”

Zednik was hurt during the second period of the Atlanta game but the Caps refused to discuss the injury. It is believed Zednik will be out for at least a week, which leads to speculation he might have a concussion. The Caps denied it.

Fleischmann has been the Bears’ top forward all season with points in his last seven games. He had eight goals and six assists with Hershey. He had previously appeared in one game with Washington this season.

“It’s just a matter of time for him before he plays in the NHL full time,” Hanlon said. “Every one of these recalls is an opportunity for him to make that permanent jump. We want him to play his first few games at left wing then switch him to right wing.”

Fleischmann was one of the last players sent to the minors out of training camp and might have stuck had he been able to play the right side. Washington is weak on the right side and is even weaker now with Zednik out.

— Dave Fay

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