Dale Hunter’s first curious decision as Washington Capitals head coach is in the books. He’s made defenseman Roman Hamrlik a healthy scratch for tonight’s big game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s the first time the 19-year veteran has been a healthy scratch this season.
Hamrlik’s played all 23 games this season, recording 1G-0A-1PT with a minus-10 rating — so yeah, there are a few reasons to drop him from the lineup. The Caps are also carrying seven healthy defensemen, meaning someone had to be the odd man out. (Most recently, that guy had been Jeff Schultz.)
All that said, the move is still surprising. Even with Hamrlik’s anemic stats, he’s still averaging close to 20 minutes per game and leading the team in blocked shots (46). He’s also in the first season of a two-year, $7 million contract that makes him Washington’s third highest-paid blueliner.
Final note: If you say “scratch” over and over it starts to sound really weird. Go ahead, try it.
PHT Morning Skate: It’s not like they robbed a bank
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley seems pretty chill about healthy-scratching Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma. That goes for Monahan and Gaudreau in particular, noting that they’re “great kids.”
Besides … it’s not like they robbed a bank. (NHL.com)
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.
Per @EliasSports: @LAKings had 9 different skaters score in a game for 5th time in franchise history. Last: Jan. 21, 1987 vs. PIT (10-5 W).