- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The Washington Capitals have been inactive so far in the trade market, and the club may remain that way while other teams make moves to better their position for the playoffs.
The NHL trading deadline is 3p.m. today.
Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey and Philadelphia appear to have made the biggest gains, with the Flyers adding Phoenix right wing Tony Amonte to their stable just before game time last night at MCI Center.
Washington general manager George McPhee would not say definitively last night he was not going to make a move, but he didn't sound positive that another blockbuster was in the works. A year ago on the deadline he sent Adam Oates to the Flyers for goaltending prospect Maxime Ouellet and first-, second- and third-round picks.
"We have interest in some players, but the price seems pretty high either financially or in terms of what they're asking us to give up," he said. "We'll continue to look and see what works out."
While McPhee would not address the subject, finances appear to be a key stumbling block. The team has nearly $20 million tied up in three players Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang and Peter Bondra plus another $30 million spread over the remaining personnel.
McPhee acknowledged he has made two offers but has not heard back on either one. He said he planned to resume working the phones early today.
While it did not appear to be the case with Washington, some of the veterans dealt yesterday seemed to fall under the "good soldier reward" category, wherein loyal veteran players are asked which teams they want to play for and which they would rather avoid. That happened several years ago when Washington captain Dale Hunter was set to retire from a team that was not going to make the postseason and was traded to Colorado, a team with a chance at the Stanley Cup.
Amonte was not the hit everyone expected in Phoenix, and the cash-strapped franchise was willing to let him go for next to nothing, which is what the Coyotes got. It was one of the major moves of the day.
New Jersey picked up wing Grant Marshall from Columbus and defenseman Richard Smehlik from Atlanta. Dallas obtained center Stu Barnes from Buffalo, defenseman Lyle Odelein from Chicago and possibly veteran wing Doug Gilmour from Montreal, though details still are being worked out on the latter.
Toronto grabbed defenseman Glen Wesley from Carolina after earlier picking up wing Owen Nolan from San Jose. And Ottawa may have partially solved its problem of a lack of toughness, obtaining journeyman enforcer Rob Ray from Buffalo.

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