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Poti out, Hamrlik in for Capitals vs. Penguins

by Chris Adamski

PITTSBURGH -- Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti is not playing in Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins due to a upper-body injury.

Poti was replaced in the lineup by veteran Roman Hamrlik, who had not played since Jan. 24. The 38-year-old has one assist and is a minus-1 in three games this season.

Poti appeared in five of the Capitals' 10 games this season after not playing in the NHL for more than two years due to a groin injury. He had recorded one assist. A team official characterized Poti's status as day to day.

Poti had 22:36 of ice time in Tuesday's loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and appeared to be regaining the confidence of the coaching staff. Just Thursday morning, Washington coach Adam Oates praised the 35-year-old.

"He's very valuable," Oates said. "He was a top-four defenseman, and if he can continue to regain that form, it'll be a big plus for us.

"He had two years off, and you don't come back and skate two weeks and be at NHL pace. But I thought the other night he had more jump in his game and was doing a good job in [the] system."

Hamrlik has 638 points in 1,382 games over 20 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Capitals. He had two goals and 11 assists in his first season with Washington.

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