- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

FIRST PERIOD BLUES: Getting off to slow starts is nothing new for Washington, as veteran Caps watchers will attest. Washington has not scored a goal in the first two minutes this season, but the drought goes a lot further back than that.

Washington has not scored in the first two minutes since March 28, 2001, when Jeff Halpern connected at 1:28 to begin a 7-0 rout of Carolina. The Caps have played 111 games since then and have been outscored 15-0 in the first two minutes.

BELAK ICED: Toronto defenseman Wade Belak, who leveled Washington's Brendan Witt with a stiff elbow to the left side of the defenseman's head at 18:10 of the second period Tuesday at Air Canada Centre, was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL. Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said after the game that his player "was defending himself," although it was not clear what was threatening him.

Belak received a five-minute elbowing penalty plus a game misconduct, but Washington was unable to convert even with a power play that long. The Leafs won 5-4.

FORBES UP: Forward Colin Forbes, who plays both wing and center, was recalled by the Caps as regular forwards fell by the wayside. Peter Bondra was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov.21 to make room on the roster.

Forbes, 26, has seven goals and 12 assists to lead Portland scorers with 19 points. He played 38 games for Washington last season with five goals and eight points.

Besides Bondra, right wing Stephen Peat is also on injured reserve for Washington with a hand injury.

Dave Fay

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