Hamrlik questions Hunter

Hamrlik questions Hunter
February 23, 2012, 6:56 pm
Share This Post

Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik says he wants to stay in Washington for the remainder of the two-year, 7 million contract he signed last summer.

But he also wants to be in the lineup and is not happy with coach Dale Hunter's decision to make him a healthy scratch Wednesday night in Ottawa, a decision that may be repeated when Hamrlik's former employers, the Montreal Canadiens, visit the Verizon Center Friday night.

"People talk. Media talks," Hamrlik said when asked about a report that he has asked to be traded before Monday's trade deadline. "Nothing I can do about it. I'm happy to be here and do my job. I don't have control over that. I hope I stay here and make the team better and help them make the playoffs. I don't have reason to leave."

However, he said he does have a reason to be angry about sitting.

Asked if Hunter discussed with him the reasons for being scratched, Hamrlik said. "No, he didn't."

Asked what he thought the reason was, Hamrlik replied, "I don't know. You should ask him."

Hunter said a penalty taken by Hamrlik early in Monday night's 5-0 loss in Carolina was one of the reasons he sent Hamrlik to the press box two nights later in Ottawa.

"You should ask him about the penalties because when he played I think he make lots of penalties himself," Hamrlik said. "He should know better. This is a game and guys (play with) emotion. I know I took a bad penalty, but if that's the reason I didn't play that's his decision."

Hunter, who ranks second on the NHL's all-time penalty list with 3,565 penalty minutes, said there was more to his decision to bench Hamrlik than one penalty.

"We need him playing better defensively," Hunter said. "He's a defensive defenseman and the way we mark scoring chances (against) he's been involved in too many of them. That's why he was sitting out and that's why (Jeff) Schultz was sitting out before him.

"(Hamrlik) is backing in way too much. He's letting (forwards) come through and they're hitting the second tier. Sitting out is a humbling experience. We all went through it. If you played hockey or any sport you sat out. You've just got to go to practice and work hard like he did today. Watch video and learn from it and when you get the chance play well."

Hamrlik said it's difficult to play when a coach is waiting for you to make your next mistake.

"It's not a fun time, especially when you're older," Hamrlik, 37, said. "You want to enjoy and have fun. It's a difficult time to play hockey when you know you make a mistake you're not going to play. It's not easy. It's really difficult on your body and your mind."