Capitals Practice Notes: Roman Hamrlik Claimed by Rangers, Marcus Johansson Passes Neuropsychological Test

With a three-games-in-four-days stretch beginning Thursday, the Washington Capitals held an optional practice Wednesday in snowy Arlington, Va.

Eleven players -- including six who played in Washington's 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins Tuesday -- took part: forwards Joey Crabb, Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson, Aaron Volpatti, Wojtek Wolski and Troy Brouwer, defensemen Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, Jack Hillen and Steven Oleksy, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

Here some news and notes from Kettler Capitals Iceplex this morning:

-- Defenseman Roman Hamrlik, whom the Capitals placed on waivers Tuesday afternoon, was claimed by the New York Rangers Wednesday. The 38-year-old veteran was a healthy scratch for all but four of Washington's 21 games this season.

Head coach Adam Oates said that the "depth chart just kind of grabbed [Hamrlik] a little bit here" as he didn't want to disrupt any sort of flow that the defensive corps had recently developed.

Oates, however, praised Hamrlik for his professionalism throughout the season.

"It's a tough situation," defenseman Tom Poti said before the news of the Rangers' claim was made public. "He's the ultimate professional. He hasn't complained or sighed at all. He's out there, he's one of our hardest workers in practice. Hopefully, he does get picked up and he can continue his career. It's pretty special when a guy can last for 20 years. You know you're doing something right.

-- Brouwer skated Wednesday after missing his first-ever game as a Capital with the flu Tuesday. He said that he's feeling better and should "be all right for tomorrow" against the Florida Panthers.

"Yesterday, I wasn't really able to get out of bed very much," he said. "Just real uncomfortable as anyone who has the flu knows.

Brouwer was not in attendance at Verizon Center Tuesday; he was stuck on the couch instead watching the game on television.

"At least normally, you're able to be around the guys at the rink, being part of the whole ordeal," Brouwer said. "Sitting on the couch, blanket wrappped around me, it's not a whole lot of fun to be sitting there helpless."

-- Marcus Johansson passed a neuropsychological test, a necessary step to be cleared for contact in practice. The 22-year-old has missed Washington's last 10 games with what Oates has called an "upper-body injury."

Johansson did not go into too much detail, but said that he has been feeling whatever is nagging him "for a while."

"It feels good to have that over, but we'll take it from here and see what happens and hopefully I can play soon," he said.

-- After Tuesday's game, forward Matt Hendricks said that newcomer Aaron Volpatti, who has been a Capital for less than a week, stepped up and spoke during the first intermission when Washington trailed Boston 3-0.

"He said, ‘Boys, let’s just focus on winning the second period,’ ” Hendricks said.

Wednesday, Volpatti said that there was no hesitation on his part to speak up.

"I didn't really think of it even like that," he said. "The more people communicating and talking positives is better, so just chipping in however I can." 

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