- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

SEASON OVER Center Jeff Halpern is headed for surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, the injury resulting from a check thrown by Canadien Francis Bouillon early in a game in Montreal Jan. 16. Halpern, a Montgomery County native, finished the game but has not been on skates since.
He is the second player lost for the season, joining defenseman Calle Johansson, who was lost after he played 11 games. And left wing Steve Konowalchuk has played five games after shoulder surgery although he is scheduled to return after the Olympic break. The Caps have lost 171 man-games to injury so far; they lost just 147 all of last season.
After two strong seasons, Halpern had struggled in his third NHL season. He had only five goals and 19 points, far below his and the team's expectations. Nonetheless, four of his five goals have been game-winners, second best on the team.
No date has been set for Halpern's surgery.
A RISING STAR Adam Oates has joined some very select company: He has moved into 20th place on the NHL's list of top point-producing players. Going into the Blues' game, Oates had 1,328 points, moving Gilbert Perreault out of the top 20. Next in sight? Former Cap and recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Gartner, currently 19th at 1,335. Oates is sixth among active players.
HONOR FOR STEVIE Former Caps defenseman Steve Poapst will be inducted into the Portland (Maine) Pirates Hall of Fame tomorrow. Poapst will be the fifth member of the hall, joining Andrew Brunette, Olie Kolzig and Byron Dafoe, all charter members, and Kevin Kaminski, inducted last season. All played for the Caps.
Poapst, now with the Chicago Blackhawks, played a total of 25 games for the Caps during two stints in the late '90s, scoring just one goal but an important one. It came in the spring of 1996 in Madison Square Garden, his first NHL game and his first NHL goal. It was the game-winner against the Rangers that night, a win that clinched a playoff spot for the Caps.
ALUMNI NEWS Peter Zezel, a veteran of 16 NHL seasons who played briefly for the Caps in 1990-91 (he had 12 points in 20 games but also was minus-13), has been suspended by the Greater Toronto Hockey League, allegedly for helping friend Dan Blackburn coach the Mississauga Rebels bantam team. Zezel was suspended for 21 games, Blackburn for 126 games. Zezel apparently was not registered with the league as a coach. … Joe Reekie, traded by the Caps to Chicago on Jan. 17, is out four to six weeks with a broken foot. He used it to stop a shot during a 2-1 loss against Boston the other night in just his fifth game with the Hawks.
Dave Fay

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