John Tortorella: Roman Hamrlik needs to be in game shape

Washington Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik skates with the Washington Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik skates with the puck in the second period. (Jan. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After only two games, John Tortorella has dropped the hammer on Roman Hamrlik.

Hamrlik said he has been told he will not play Sunday when the Rangers visit his old team, the Washington Capitals. The Rangers picked up the 38-year-old defenseman on waivers from Washington on Wednesday and he played 15:48 against the Islanders on Thursday after not appearing in a game since Feb. 7.

But Hamrlik is not in game shape and logged only 7:29 against Ottawa on Friday. The former Islander and the NHL's active leader in games played (1,385) is rusty; he played four of Washington's first 21 games.

"He's got to get in shape," Tortorella said after a short practice Saturday. "Playing back-to-back, and now we're playing three in [four days], he's got to get some conditioning for him to be effective."

Hamrlik said he was "sad" to not be facing his old team. But he agrees he needs conditioning. "You skate pretty much every day, but it's not the same," he said. "I think the best shape you get in is game situations and playing in games. I missed lots of games and I was skating back there, but it's not the same as the games. I'll be skating here, and when I get a chance to be in the lineup, I will work hard like I do."

The Rangers need help because Marc Staal (hit in the face by a puck) and Arron Asham (back) are out. Stu Bickel or Matt Gilroy likely will take Hamrlik's spot.

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Tortorella also had some tough words for Brian Boyle, who was a healthy scratch Friday with Brad Richards returning from injury. Asked what he needs to see from Boyle, Tortorella said: "Everything. Everything better. I'm not going to go into specifics. He just hasn't played well enough to be a part of this."

Boyle, told of his coach's words, said: "It doesn't really matter what it's been like before. Tomorrow is a new day and I'm getting ready for it."

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