- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:
NIKO'S BACK When former Cap and current Chicago Blackhawk Andrei Nikolishin hurt his right knee Nov.25 against Colorado, he was expected to miss a month to six weeks at least, with season-ending surgery a possibility.
Well, Nikolishin was back in the Hawks' lineup Thursday night in a 2-2 deadlock with Minnesota, a month and a day after the injury. Chicago sorely missed the center, who had been the team's top faceoff man.
The Caps traded Nikolishin and left wing Chris Simon to Chicago on Nov.1 for center Michael Nylander, and so far it has been a very lopsided deal in Washington's favor. Nylander had moved into the Caps' scoring lead with 10 goals and 30 points in 24 games and was plus-9. Nikolishin was 1-2-3, minus-5 in 12 games for Chicago. Simon had two goals (one against the Caps) and four points in 24 games, was minus-8 and was a healthy scratch for the past two games.
YESTERDAY It seems like only yesterday that a brash youngster showed up at the Caps' training camp trying to win a job. He was headstrong and impulsive, feisty and combative, tough and talented.
Last night defenseman Scott Stevens, the New Jersey Devils' captain, played in his 1,549th NHL game, tying him with Alex Delvecchio for sixth place on the all-time list.
SAY WHAT? The last thing any Canadian wants to hear is that his country is nothing more than the United States' 51st state. Which is why New Jersey coach Pat Burns, a native of Quebec, is sure to hear about this remark, which Newark Star-Ledger sportswriter Rich Chere says is an accurate quote.
"Canada and the U.S. are the same," Burns told Chere. "Canada is just another state."
Dave Fay

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