- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2002

After years of being among the league leaders in man-games lost to injury, the Washington Capitals experienced a relative respite last season with less than 150, below the league average. But now the bad days of old appear to be back with a vengeance.
The Caps played Toronto last night with seven regulars out, the highest number of man-games lost in one game this season, hiking the season total to 120 with 37 games left to play. And the situation doesn't look any better for tonight's game in Florida.
New additions to the MIA list were right wing Jaromir Jagr, sidelined with a slight groin injury sustained in the last five minutes of Wednesday's game against Columbus, and wing Joe Sacco, who was sent home with the flu. Already out short-term are defenseman Brendan Witt (sprained thumb), left wing Peter Bondra (flu) and left wing Ulf Dahlen (bruised foot); long-term injuries have sidelined defenseman Calle Johansson (rotator cuff surgery) and left wing Steve Konowalchuk (shoulder surgery).
The sidelined players account for 55 of the Caps' 128 goals scored this season.
General manager George McPhee said he had to go over the roster to see if any recalls were possible without placing individuals on injured reserve while staying within the 23-man roster limit. Any player put on IR is lost for at least seven days. Bondra could be backdated to make him eligible for Monday night's Boston game, but if Sacco and Jagr went the IR route, they would not be eligible to play against the Bruins.
And if there were recalls from the Portland (Maine) Pirates, that would leave that team more than strapped. The Pirates are already trying to compete with fewer than the minimum number of players because of injuries and recalls by Washington.
The inability of Bondra and Jagr to compete seemingly caught the team by surprise. On Thursday, coach Ron Wilson said he was sure both would be ready to play against Toronto. McPhee said last night he didn't think any of the injured or sick players would be ready for the Panthers tonight.
Washington played last night with 10 forwards and eight defensemen not an unprecedented combination but certainly unorthodox.

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