On their second shift of the third period Friday night, the pairing of Roman Hamrlik and Dennis Wideman was on the ice for the New York Rangers’ fifth goal by Brad Richards.
The goal was a result of Wideman rushing the puck up ice where he tried to get a shot off in the offensive zone but was poke checked instead and the play quickly went back the other way. Hamrlik was back but couldn’t stop the pass from Ryan Callahan to Richards.
It was the third Rangers’ goal that the veteran pairing had been on the ice for and it would be their last. Coach Bruce Boudreau benched Wideman and Hamrlik after that shift and both played just 1 minute and 45 seconds in the third period.
“I just thought they were minus-3 at the point. We had another game [Saturday], four games in the week and they might be getting tired,” Boudreau said. “We showed clips this morning of it. I think whether you’re 50 or you’re 5, you have to show them some reasons why things are happening.”
The 6-3 loss to the Rangers was a particularly poor outing for both Hamrlik, 37, and Wideman, 28, who are looking to rebound individually as well as part of the group after having to watch the final 18 minutes of the game Friday night.
“You never want to get sat, but whether I would have gotten sat or not you still want to come back and play better because we lost the game,” said Wideman, who is a minus-3 on the season.
For Hamrlik particularly, it was a rough night in what has been a tough start to the season. The veteran defenseman is a team-worst minus-7 and is on the ice for the most goals against per 60 minutes of 5 on 5 play at 2.88, according to statistics available at BehindtheNet.ca.
Hamrlik is in the first year of a two-year deal with the Capitals worth $7 million and in his 18th season he knows how to work himself out of slumps. But he acknowledges that this is a particularly sour one and not the way he wanted to start off with a new team.
“It was not easy to watch the game from the bench but he was totally right to bench us, we had tough game,” Hamrlik said after the morning skate in Buffalo. “We have to be much better — I know I can play better and I have to be more desperate, win battles one on one. I’ve been in the league a long time, I know what it takes, how to prepare for games and sometimes things just don’t go your way. Right now they’re not there for me. They’re not even close. I just have to work every day, every game, and hopefully things are going to change.”