Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik remained on the Kettler ice for a good 20 minutes after the Capitals morning skate on Tuesday, a clear indication they will not be on the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders.
Under the direction of assistant coach Jim Johnson, Knuble, Hamrlik and veteran defenseman John Erskine skated and skated and skated some more.
When they retreated to the locker room, Knuble and Hamrlik declined to talk to reporters.
Theres nothing to talk about, Knuble said to a cameraman.
One day after not being moved at the NHL trade deadline, Knuble and Hamrlik appear to be no more a part of the Capitals immediate plans than they were before.
Knuble has been a healthy scratch in favor of Bears callup Keith Aucoin in five of the teams last nine games; Hamrlik has been benched in favor of Jeff Schultz the past three games.
Both veterans voiced their displeasure over the reasoning coach Dale Hunter gave for tasking them out of the lineup and the lines of communication were not exactly flowing freely on Tuesday.
I just told them theyre not playing tonight and get ready to play (in the future), Hunter said. You never know when youre going to get in.
Theyre professionals. Its like Schultzie. He was scratched how many games? Twelve in a row? Now what is he doing?
Schultz was scratched 18 of 20 games from Dec. 9 through Jan. 31 and has played in 10 of the last 11 games.
He didnt say anything, Hunter said. He just went out, worked hard in practice. It proves a point.
When you do get in and you play well like Schultzie has, he deserves to be in the lineup. Thats what bumps out another guy. If Hammer or Noobs get in, theyll bump out a guy. Thats the way it is.
Johnson has had the difficult chore of putting the Capitals three veterans through their paces after practices and said there is not much he can say to smooth things over.
Theres not a lot you can say right now, Johnson said. Attitude his everything. Its a difficult situation and its not a lot of fun, but these guys are ultimate pros. Theyll fight through it and theyll be impact players for us down the stretch. I know they will.