- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

ETOBICOKE, Ontario Jaromir Jagr, who has won the NHL scoring title the last four seasons, will be sidelined for an indeterminate length of time after reinjuring his right knee Friday night, the Washington Capitals right wing said yesterday.
Jagr will not play in tonight's game against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, meaning he will have missed four of the Caps' 14 games this season. He was initially injured 13 minutes into the first period Oct. 10 at Madison Square Garden, missed three games and returned, saying he felt better. Yesterday he indicated that may have been a mistake, that possibly he returned too fast and his injury did not have enough time to fully heal.
"I just came here to get some treatment, I won't be able to play [tonight]," Jagr said after flying to Toronto from Washington.
But if he was that certain he would not be able to face the Leafs, why did he make the trip if the team was returning immediately after the game?
"Because you never know with these things," said general manager George McPhee. "Sometimes with injuries like these you wake up in the morning and you feel fine."
Jagr did not feel fine yesterday. He said there was pain in his knee and he was even having trouble walking, so skating was out of the question.
"I don't know," he said when asked how long he thought he would be out. "Before I was playing [when I was] completely healthy and see what happened. I'm out again. I'm not saying it's worse than it was before but it's not good. When I feel it's good enough to play, I'm going to play, don't get me wrong.
"Also, I learned something from the last time. I want to come back and be ready to play 100 percent."
Jagr said he felt the initial injury "was worse than [the current one] and I thought I was going to be out for a month. But after a week it was getting better and better every day and I was able to skate and practice and even play."
The wing said he was "frustrated" about not playing "especially right now when we have a lot of people out and we need to score goals to win games. But I cannot do anything about it. It happened. … The second or third day is always the worst and after that it's getting better. It is getting better, I can feel that, but it still hurts."
First-line center Adam Oates, who sustained a sprained left ankle Oct. 26 in Atlanta, is also not expected to play tonight. Already on the shelf indefinitely is left wing Steve Konowalchuk, one of the best defensive forwards in the league, after undergoing shoulder surgery.
All three missed Saturday night's 4-1 loss in St. Louis, when the Caps put a team on the ice that included 11 of 18 skaters who had not scored a single goal this season. Two of the four lines that practiced yesterday at Lakeshore Arena had a total of one goal between them.
Washington is on a four-game winless streak (0-2-2) and has scored only three goals during that span. Its power play, ranked fourth in the league at 21.1 percent, is keeping the team alive at this point but there is no guarantee it will be available every night, that being up to the whim of officials.
"We don't have goal dust to sprinkle on people, we just have to work hard and you hope they can produce," said coach Ron Wilson. "We're not putting any pressure on them, that's the last thing a lot of guys need right now. They're feeling enough pressure from [the pressure] they're putting on themselves. They just have to relax a little bit and focus on the process, not the end result. If you're just thinking about scoring and you forget how to score and the things you have to do to bang in an ugly one, you're simply not going to score."


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