- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

NEW YORK The Washington Capitals picked up two points last night as a result of a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers but lost two players in the process.
The Caps lost all-world right wing Jaromir Jagr to a leg injury in the first period and up-and-coming defenseman Brendan Witt, one of their co-captains, in the third, also with a leg injury. Coach Ron Wilson charged that both were the victims of slew-foot injuries, illegal in the NHL. No penalty was called when the players went down.
The exact extent of the injuries was not revealed by Wilson, but he said no call-ups were planned as of last night. The coach termed both players "day-to-day," which has no limits. The team departs today for three games in California and Arizona.
"I'm not worried about the length of anybody's injuries, but it's uncalled for," Wilson said. "It's a nationally televised game and one of your captains doesn't finish and the best player in the league doesn't finish the first period. That's not right. Some uncalled-for stuff was going on out there and some people got hurt because of it. But we'll be OK, we'll lick our wounds, we got the two points and we'll go out to the West Coast."
Jagr had gone out near the right point at 14:39 of the first period to keep the puck in the zone. He had turned and was coming down the boards when Rangers defenseman Igor Ulanov tackled him awkwardly from behind, spreading Jagr's legs apart with his stick as the two tried to keep their balance. Jagr lay on the ice for about 30 seconds before getting up and heading straight for the training room.
Slew-footing is kicking a player's legs out from under him from behind. Wilson maintained Witt was the victim of that offense three times in the final period, but not one of the violations was called and the player was injured.
The victim of Washington's early assault was rookie goalie Dan Blackburn, the Rangers' No. 1 pick in last June's draft and at 18 years, 143 days, the fourth-youngest netminder in the history of the NHL. But to say the youngster was totally at fault would be wrong; a huge share of the blame has to be hung on the Rangers' inept defense.
All three Washington goals in the first period were point shots by defensemen on power plays, the second with a two-man advantage. Sergei Gonchar had the first two, Sylvain Cote the third. Jagr assisted on two and Gonchar assisted the one he didn't score.
But the Caps were unable to contain New York in the middle period and came close to giving up the tying goal before the second period ended. As it was, goals by Zdeno Ciger (his first goal in five seasons) and Radek Dvorak brought the Rangers within 3-2, although the second goal came with Manny Malhotra lying atop Olie Kolzig after the New Yorker was shoved into the goalie by a Cap.
Any Rangers comeback started to evaporate four minutes into the third when the Caps scored, but that goal took a lengthy video review. Ulf Dahlen was finally credited with his second of the season after he ripped a second rebound off Blackburn's mask and into the right corner.
The Caps' fourth power-play score of the game came late in the third when Peter Bondra had an easy tap-in after New York took another undisciplined penalty.
Notes Right wing Joe Sacco, banged up in the Caps' first game, did not dress for the second game in a row. Defenseman Calle Johansson, injured in the Caps' second game, did not dress last night either. He was severely jolted in the second period of the Boston game Monday by defenseman Kyle McLaren but Johansson isn't expected to miss more time. Ken Klee played in his first game of the season, filling in for Johansson. Stephen Peat took Sacco's spot and was involved in a brawl 3:39 into the game when he was jumped from behind by Dale Purinton.
Ulanov, the Rangers defenseman assigned to shadow Jagr who ended up causing the injury to Washington's right wing, had a stint as a Cap in 1995. He came to Washington with Mike Eagles from Winnipeg in March 1995, but played only three games due to an injury and moved on after that season. Attendance last night at the Garden was 17,340, the first non-sellout for a Rangers home game in exactly five years. A baseball game at the other end of Manhattan might have been the reason.

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