In the next day or two defenseman Roman Hamrlik and goaltender Michal Neuvirth will return from the CzechRepublic, poke their heads inside the Capitals dressing room and … wait for a bucket of hockey pucks to fall from the doorway?
If you recall, Hamrlik and Neuvirth created quite a firestorm within the NHL Players’ Association in November when Hamrlik said he was “disgusted” with the negotiations and thought Don Fehr should be fired if he couldn’t salvage a season.
Neuvirth said he agreed with his countryman and that the lockout was “about several superstars with big contracts.”
You may also recall Troy Brouwer’s reaction to those comments.
Brouwer said Hamrlik and Neuvirth were “selling us out,” adding, “How am I going to trust them as a teammate from now on? Because you know they’re not going to support players in the big scheme of things when you go and you play on the team with them; it’s going to be tough to want to back those guys from now on.”
Biting words, indeed.
But as we all know, time and a new CBA heals all wounds, right?
“We’ve already had conversations about it,” Brouwer told CSNWashington.com. “It’s not that guys have personal problems whatsoever. It’s just the heat of the moment when something is said.
“It’s not going to benefit you and it may prolong the process. That’s what those words were about. It’s not that I have any ill feelings for Hammer. He’s a great guy and I can’t wait to be back on the same team as him.
“It was just the timing of it was not ideal for the players and what we were trying to accomplish. He’s a good player, a good guy to have around the room and I’m excited to get back playing with him and Neuvy and the rest of the guys.”
Jason Chimera said he will be just as welcoming to his Czech mates.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “As for Hamrlik, he’s been through three of these [work stoppages]. I think he’s got a right to speak his mind.
“Maybe you tell him not to voice his opinion so much in public. A lot of guys have different opinions, but you don’t want to air your dirty laundry in the media. He’s been through three of these things. One is too many and he got tired of it.”
How, you may ask, can hockey players be so forgiving? Chimera used this interesting analogy.
“You get in a [hockey] fight with a guy and you see him at the bar and you have a beer with him after the game,” he said. “So I have no concerns.”