Roman Hamrlik joined the fray at the Capitals practice facility in Arlington on Friday, taking part in the on-ice workout and getting caught up with his teammates including Troy Brouwer.
In November, Hamrlik made dissenting comments about the NHLPA’s strategy during the lockout saying he was “disgusted” with the process, questioning Donald Fehr’s direction and urging that the union’s constituents should push for a vote. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth agreed with Hamrlik, saying the lockout was about star players rather than the majority.
The veteran defenseman’s remarks drew the ire of players across the sport, Brouwer among them. Brouwer, the Capitals’ alternate representative to the NHLPA, said he believed Hamrlik was being “selfish” and “selling us out.” He went so far as to question, “How am I going to trust them as a teammate from now on?”
Upon being reunited in Arlington, though, the two cleared the air and both Hamrlik and Brouwer insist that they’ve moved on from what was said over a month and a half ago.
“We both know that words that were said back then, it doesn’t really reflect [that] he’s still my friend, he’s still my teammate. We came in, we had a good chat today,” said Brouwer, who said he was primarily concerned that the comments could damage the union’s ability to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
“We were just angry because the comments were ill timed and we thought it was going to set the process back quite a bit … making it seem like the union was segregated,” Brouwer said. “But it didn’t look like it mattered anyway. We still have to deal with each other on a day-to-day basis and right now there’s no ill feelings toward each other.”
Said Hamrlik of Brouwer: “He’s one of the best guy on the team. He’s a great teammate. We talked and we chat on the phone. And it’s no problem. He’s my teammate, and I wouldn’t say anything bad about anybody.”
Hamrlik, who at 38 is in the latter stages of his career, said he believed he was “the most frustrated guy” with wanting the lockout to end, simply so he could play out the final year of his current contract.
“It was long, long fight, but for me, for an older guy, like I said, it was not so much about the money, but play the hockey,” Hamrlik said, “Because you never know if you’re gonna get signed or what’s gonna happen when you get older. You’re more focusing on stay healthy and do what you do the best. For me it’s play hockey. For the future, I think the deal was really good. I’m here, focusing on the season.”