- The Washington Times - Friday, March 1, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

SAD NEWS News that Mario Lemieux's season might be over because of a hip problem saddened the Capitals' Jaromir Jagr, a Pittsburgh teammate of Lemieux's for 11 seasons.

"It's a sad thing for the fans," Jagr said, "and a sad thing for hockey. Maybe it's related to something else. He always had back problems and the hip problem. Maybe one leg is longer than the other one that causes a lot of problems for hockey players, and if you don't catch it right away, it's a big problem. You're always using one side more than the other one, and a lot of guys have the problem."

Lemieux came out of retirement in December 2000, "and I thought we had a pretty good team to maybe win the Stanley Cup, but we didn't do it," Jagr said. "This year he went to the Olympics, and that [gold medal for Canada] was the one thing he was missing in his collection. But he's going to be back. It's tough enough to play in this league when you're healthy; when you're hurt, you cannot do it. It's better he plays the percentages and take some rest and be 100 percent for next season."

PLAY AND PAY The Caps introduced a "Pay as We Play" plan in which fans can pay for playoff tickets after each round, avoiding the upfront cost of paying for games that may not be necessary.

Declan Bolger, vice president for business, said fans would receive tickets for all 16 possible playoff games when they renew their season-ticket plan for next season. At the end of each playoff round, fans' credit cards would be charged for games played.

Dave Fay

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