- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

BETTMAN HERE NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at MCI Center, meeting with team officials and taking in the game.

Bettman said he was pleased with the progress the Caps have made under majority owner Ted Leonsis, noting the fan base has increased since the AOL executive took over 21/2 years ago. "All the vital signs are positive," he said.

He also said he believed the problems the club is experiencing on the ice should be short lived, that the team is going through transitional-type difficulties since the acquisition of right wing Jaromir Jagr.

"I think [general manager] George McPhee has the situation well in hand," he said.

METRO GONE Center-wing Glen Metropolit was re-assigned to the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the American Hockey League yesterday by the Caps. He had five assists in 11 games with the Caps and was even defensively with Washington.

Also yesterday, Florida filled a vacancy on its roster by recalling center Matt Herr from Hershey in the AHL. Herr, chosen to play in the AHL all-star game this season, was originally drafted by Washington in 1994 and played 52 games for the Caps before being traded to Philadelphia.

NOT TODAY When Anaheim visited Columbus on New Year's Eve, Ducks (and former Caps) coach Bryan Murray had a short speech prepared for his players.

"Do you know who runs that team over there?" he said he told his players. "That's Doug MacLean. Well, he worked for me for 10 years (starting in Washington). I'd like to beat him once."

Columbus 3, Anaheim 1. MacLean, general manager of the Blue Jackets, will be in Washington tomorrow night.

Dave Fay

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