- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

On a day when players were battling for jobs at the Washington Capitals' training camp in Odenton, Md., the misery caused by Tuesday's terrorist strikes was not forgotten.

At noon, as the nation and world paused to remember those who were injured or killed, hockey action came to a halt. While players on the ice stopped and removed their helmets, others in the building stood and bowed their heads.

In the main dressing room, a sign on the blackboard notified veterans from last year's team that donations of $1,000 a player for the disaster relief fund would be collected Monday.

"We were talking about it [Thursday], trying to think of something we could do," left wing Chris Simon said. "Even this seems so insignificant when you think about the sacrifice the firemen and cops made trying to rescue those people, then being killed themselves.

"Hundreds of them gone, just like that. You want heroes, you want guys to look up to? Maybe we can do something for all the children who suddenly don't have both parents."

Members of management and staff also will be donating to the Pentagon Relief Fund, in care of the Salvation Army and Red Cross. Donations will be accepted from fans at scrimmages today and tomorrow at Piney Orchard Ice Arena, all earmarked for the Pentagon fund.

Scrimmages are planned for 11 a.m. both days, replacing exhibition games that have been put on hold. The Caps were to host Philadelphia tonight and play Boston tomorrow night in Portland, Maine.

Meanwhile, some of the non-veterans in camp are taking the available opportunity to make an impression on management and coaches. Among those standing out are forwards Brian Sutherby, Matt Pettinger and Mike Farrell and defensemen Jakub Cutta and Nolan Yonkman. The Ferraro twins, Chris and Peter, are not disappointing anybody with their grit and determination, but it would be a surprise if they did anything less.

"I've been impressed with some of the young guys, but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves they may need some seasoning," said general manager George McPhee, a strong believer in not hurting young players by rushing their development. "They've sure demonstrated they'll be able to play in the league; it's just a matter of when."

Sutherby may get more of an opportunity than originally planned. Jeff Halpern has been holding out, and during the interim somebody has to take his place centering a line. Sutherby, a first-round selection in June 1999, has earned a shot with good two-way play.

"We were very impressed with the way he played last year in a couple exhibition games," coach Ron Wilson said. "At the moment, with Halpern not here, that gives you even more of an opportunity to use Brian in situations with top people.

"You give him an opportunity to play with Ulf Dahlen and Steve Konowalchuk, see how maybe he would do with a Trevor Linden or even one night we'll stick him in there with a Jaromir Jagr. It gives them a sense of how close they are, or how far away, and what they have to work on."

The scrimmages will give the coaches a chance to see how far the young defensemen have come in a year since their last camp. But precautions will be taken against overmatching them.

"They're very young, and you want them to gain some experience playing with veteran guys," Wilson said. "But you don't want to put two young guys out there together against the best line in the league. You try to protect them and help them gain experience."

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