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Capitals' Mathieu Perreault vents about lack of playing time

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NHL,Capitals,Brian McNally

One day after a pair of French-language reports surfaced about unhappiness with his role on the team, Capitals center Mathieu Perreault expounded upon remarks in those stories Thursday.

Perreault has centered the fourth line each of the first three games for Washington, including Thursday's contest against Montreal, but his ice time Saturday against Tampa Bay was a paltry 3:52. On Tuesday against Winnipeg it was just 4:58.

With top centers Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Ribeiro in front of him, Perreault has said he understands a top-six position isn't in the cards right now. But Perreault essentially told both La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal in separate interviews this week that if he isn't in the Caps' long-term plans, then they should trade him. Perreault wanted that distinction made clear: He hasn't specifically asked general manager George McPhee for a trade but said playing less than five minutes a night is also untenable.

"I wouldn't say frustrated. I'm obviously not too happy. No one would be happy to be playing that much minutes," Perreault said.

And so Perreault, who was a restricted free agent last summer and signed a two-year, $2.1 million deal with Washington, had a brief chat with coach Adam Oates and McPhee on Thursday.

"I'm still learning my players. They're still learning me. I obviously want to get [Perreault] more ice time, and [Tuesday] was kind of no different," Oates said. "We were behind, so I wanted to get the other guys to produce before him. But he's going to get his chance, and basically the point is if you've got a beef, no problem. Let's just talk about it."

- Brian McNally

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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