- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2002

Seen and heard last night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit:

HALPERN OUT Montgomery County native Jeff Halpern returned to Washington ahead of the Caps to see the team physician and have MRI scans done on his left knee to determine the extent of his injury. Halpern was hammered awkwardly against the boards in Montreal two minutes into Wednesday night's game and played the rest of the way virtually on one leg.
"I wouldn't imagine him being back until after the All-Star break [Feb. 4], but that's what I've come to expect," coach Ron Wilson said. "I'm hoping if I think like that, I'll get positive news and he'll be ready in the middle of next week."
A team source said last night that Halpern would miss between four and six weeks with an unspecified knee injury.
Also out as a result of a injury from the Montreal game was defenseman Ken Klee, sidelined with a groin injury. He might be ready next week.
"Kenny hurt his groin in the second period the other night, got it wrapped and valiantly finished the game, just like Jeff did," Wilson said. "But he's not ready. It's pretty sore, I can't imagine him being ready [for Vancouver tonight]."
Nor will right wing Jaromir Jagr be ready. He is also out with a groin pull. Jagr skated by himself yesterday and later described it as a "baby step" toward his return.
Left wing Steve Konowalchuk stepped up his practice regime yesterday morning, going the full route except for contact. He shot well enough with his reconstructed right shoulder, causing goalie Olie Kolzig to yelp in pain at one point. Nonetheless, the co-captain is out until after the Olympics.
"He can skate, pass and shoot, but he can't be involved in any body contact," Wilson said. "We've been through this before. For example, Chris Simon had shoulder surgery and came back for the playoffs one year (1998) and as a result really damaged his shoulder so eventually he needed more surgery, actually a couple more times.
"Konowalchuk would probably say he wants to play, but you just can't let him. It's like gluing something together. It looks like it's holding, but under the stress of the game it's going to come apart, and you don't want that to happen."
HAPPY MIX The general feeling in the Washington dressing room was that defenseman Joe Reekie needed a change of scenery if his career was to continue. The fact that Chicago needed an experienced defensive defenseman seemed to be a perfect fit.
Reekie was traded to the Blackhawks for a fourth-round pick in the June draft. Some observers thought it was an excellent deal by Caps general manager George McPhee to get that high a pick for an individual who was no longer playing here. Reekie also had been beaten out by younger players.
Nonetheless, the Hawks have a few injuries and needed a stay-at-home type defender to anchor their third pair. They think Reekie, 36, fits the bill.
"He's a good shot-blocker and a good penalty-killer," Hawks coach Brian Sutter told the Chicago Tribune. "He's always been known as someone who plays hard and keeps it simple with the puck."
Dave Fay

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