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The Roman Hamrlik dilemma

March 1, 2012

Roman Hamrlik and some head-pats.

Former first overall draft pick defenseman Roman Hamrlik could have been a sweet pick-up at the deadline earlier this week. Alas, the Capitals weren’t dealers at the deadline (a move I support–less change, more stability, is best for the team now–moreover, they’ve made lots of moves the last two years of “contention). Hamrlik remains a Cap, with 1366 games under his belt.

IDNES revisited the Zlin native’s situation today. The article addressed coach Dale Hunter’s comments about wanting Hamrlik to remain more of a defensive defenseman and not toy with offense quite so much, but one nugget from an IDNES interview back in December was pulled. In it, Hamrlik said “I don’t think he (Hunter) understands me, my past. I have built a name for myself in the NHL, so I thought I would get more space (leeway). However, coach usually gives chances for young players to play all the time, even if they make mistakes.”

Hamrlik is not getting any younger. And it may be a down year. He was a steadfast blueliner for Montreal, and Washington was a different kettle of fish. But he provides a solid presence the Caps are often lacking. He can look lazy in his approach at times, however. Most had him pinned as a new player February 28th, but the Capitals held fast. Perhaps it’s a sign rifts between coach and players aren’t simply going to be fixed by shipping out one or the other any longer. But one has to hope the situation betters itself for Hamrlik soon.

What insight does this give us for Hunter? That he takes risks for his younger set. This makes sense–trial and error now, reward later. But it must be balanced out.

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