Capitals' Hamrlik 'trying to stay positive'

Capitals' Hamrlik 'trying to stay positive'
February 7, 2013, 11:00 am
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Roman Hamrlik has played more games in his NHL career [1,382] than any active defenseman in the league.

But when the Capitals [2-7-1] face off against the Penguins [7-3-0] tonight at Consol Energy Center, Hamrlik is expected to be watching from the press box for the eighth straight time.

“When the team’s losing it’s not easy to watch the game from the press box,” Hamrlik said. “I’m trying to stay positive and when I get a chance to play try to do my best. But when the team is struggling it’s more frustrating for me not playing.”

Hamrlik, 38, picked up one assist and was a minus-1 in the Capitals’ first three games of the season. He said he felt “pretty good” in those games but was replaced in the lineup by John Erskine in Game 4.

Capitals coach Adam Oates said he’s liked the way his defense pairings have played and wants to keep Tom Poti and Tomas Kundratek in the lineup. And with Erskine scheduled to return from his three-game suspension Saturday night against the Panthers, it could be a while before Hamrlik returns to the lineup.

“I’ve been in this situation many times, especially last year with Dale [Hunter] and now I’m in the same situation,” Hamrlik said. “I’ll keep working hard and hopefully I’m going to get a chance to play again.”