You can bet Joel Rechlicz will be watched very closely Saturday night in Montreal after some of the comments he made Thursday after an optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The Capitals' 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger is fully aware of the elbow Rene Bourque put on Capitals center Nick Backstrom in a game between the Capitals and Calgary Flames on Jan. 3 and made it clear he has a role to fill when the Caps visit the Canadiens, who traded for Bourque a one week after his hit on Backstrom.
I heard it was a cheap shot, Rechlicz said. Hopefully, Im in the lineup for that game.
Rechlicz is known for dropping his gloves, but he's had no takers in his first two games with the Capitals, logging just 1:49 in Tampa and 2:37 in Sunrise, Fla., in back-to-back losses.
If Ive got to run a guy through the glass and force them to fight, thats what youve got to do, Rechlicz said.
That wont sit well with the NHL officials who are scheduled to work Saturdays game. Caps coach Dale Hunter tried to douse some of the flames by saying Rechlicz can intimidate with body checks, not necessarily with his fists.
Its more expanded now than fighting, Hunter said. You see Joel hit people hard, and thats what you want. Its always a plus having a heavyweight in the lineup, because not every team carries it. Some teams do. Its part of the game.