Which disgruntled defensemen goes in?

Which disgruntled defensemen goes in?
March 9, 2012, 9:00 pm
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With defenseman Mike Green expected to miss a yet-to-be-determined number of games with a suspension, Capitals coach Dale Hunter has a decision to make.

Does he welcome Roman Hamrlik back into the lineup? Or John Erskine?

Hamrlik, 37, has been a healthy scratch in eight straight games. Erskine, 31, has sat out 12 straight and has played in just one of the Caps' last 18 games.

"We havent decided yet," Hunter said after Fridays practice at Kettler. "We dont know if hes going to be suspended, either. Cart before the horse."

Hamrlik and Erskine have not been the happiest players in the Capitals locker room the past several weeks, and both said they have not spoken to Hunter since they were pulled from the lineup.

Asked if Hunter had talked to him much lately, Erskine replied: "Who? Dale? He hasnt talked to me one little bit. I talk to assistant coaches Deano Evason and Jimmy Johnson here and there, but thats about it."

Erskine said Hunter has not spoken to him since Jan. 18, when he took a double-minor for high sticking and a minor for elbowing all on the same play. He was a healthy scratch the following game.

"Dale told me, when I was actually playing, it was after the Montreal game when I took the triple minor, he said I played with too much energy," Erskine said. "I had to slow things down. He talked about lunging at players trying to get the hit. That was basically the last time I talked to him."

Erskine said hes prepared to play in Boston Saturday afternoon if called upon.

"I've played like one game in the past 20 or something," Erskine said. "It would definitely be a challenge in the first period. But well see what happens. I dont know what the lineup is or whats going on with Greener."

Hamrlik was also waiting word on the NHLs ruling on Green, who elbowed Tampas Brett Connolly in the head midway through the Caps 3-2 overtime win Thursday night.

"Well see whats going to happen with Mike," Hamrlik said. "It's me and Ersky, so well see who he puts in the lineup. I have no clue. I'll play the way I play."