- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2001

The Washington Capitals yesterday traded veteran left wing Craig Berube to the New York Islanders, returned another player to the minors and used those two moves to bring players in from the Portland, Maine farm team.

The Caps recalled centers Jan Bulis, in Portland on a conditioning assignment, and Glen Metropolit, and sent center Terry Yake back to the Pirates after just one game on this recall.

The movement of personnel in and out appears to signal a roster shakeup by coach Ron Wilson, whose team was shut out for the third time this season by the expansion Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. The Caps are averaging fewer than two goals a game over their last five. No matter how well goalie Olie Kolzig plays, he and the team can't win without offensive support.

Caps received a ninth-round draft pick for Berube, a 15-year veteran. The 35-year-old hadn't played in 17 straight games, and with the club bent on getting younger, it didn't appear he was going to crack the lineup anytime soon, barring injury.

The Islanders will be the sixth NHL team that has owned Berube's contract, although he played for two of them Washington and Philadelphia twice and never suited up for Edmonton although he was an Oiler for three months.

"It's rough, having to take off and leave the family and all, but I want to play," Berube said. "[Islanders general manager] Mike Milbury and [coach] Butch Goring both sounded excited about getting me. But I thought I'd be here for a while, get to play and everything, but things didn't work out."

Wilson said the development of younger players forced Berube to the sideline, but the team respected him enough to try to find him a place to play.

"Although you love his veteran leadership in the [locker] room, it just wasn't fair to keep him in a situation where he wasn't playing," Wilson said. "That's the direction we want to go, younger, and people like Matt Herr and Trent Whitfield have played really well."

Wilson apparently saw all he wanted to see Wednesday night and decided to rearrange the furniture. Bulis went to Portland Jan. 3 for conditioning after missing six weeks with a broken thumb but had only two assists in four games and was minus-2. Metropolit, up for the third time this season, is Portland's leading scorer (15-25-40) "and has played very well for the past couple weeks. This is his reward," Wilson said.

Some scoring sources have dried up or are close to it. Among the defensemen, Ken Klee has two goals in 30 games, Calle Johansson two in 38. Dmitri Mironov is scoreless in 20, and Sergei Gonchar has one in his last 10.

Up front, Ulf Dahlen has one in his last 10 since returning from an injury, Jeff Halpern has two in 30 and is out injured. Chris Simon has two in his last 10 games while Steve Konowalchuk has five in his last 11. Richard Zednik, who is being moved around like a chess piece anyplace he fits, has just four goals since Halloween, and Adam Oates has two goals in his past 20 games.

Offensively, the team bottomed out Wednesday night in St. Paul. It had only seven shots on goal during the final two periods and went 21 minutes at one stretch with none. Of the seven shots it did take in the final 40 minutes, five came from defensemen.


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