Oates would welcome back Hamrlik

Oates would welcome back Hamrlik
March 5, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Capitals coach Adam Oates is hoping defenseman Roman Hamrlik gets claimed off NHL waivers before noon on Wednesday. But if he doesn’t Oates said the 39-year-old veteran is “absolutely” welcome back to the team.

“He thinks he can play and he can play,” Oates said. “It’s been a numbers game here. George [McPhee] and I talked to him. Like anybody, he’s upset and that’s the professionalism in him.

“We’re trying to do the right thing and depending on what happens, nothing might change. He might be here [Wednesday]. If he goes somewhere good for him, good luck.”

With Monday’s addition of rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy, Hamrlik has fallen to ninth on the Caps’ depth chart on the blue line, sixth among left-handed shooters.

After playing the first three games of the season, he was replaced in the lineup by John Erskine and has dressed for just one other game, a 5-2 setback in Pittsburgh on Feb. 7.

“It’s not an easy situation,” Oates said. “He got caught in terms of we all struggled early. I’ve stressed balance in our lineup and that’s affected the depth chart[Tomas] Kundratek played well and Roman has been fantastic about it.”

Brouwer out: Troy Brouwer will sit out tonight’s game against the Bruins with an illness. He will be replaced in the lineup by Wojtek Wolski, who will play left wing on a second line with Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Eric Fehr.