- The Washington Times - Friday, November 29, 2002

One skated by himself up and down in front of the team benches, testing, testing, exploding from a leisurely pace to a burst of speed to test other body parts.
Another skated with a line, then exercised by himself when other lines had the ice.
Still another skated, then quickly left, sending a message that didn't need much explanation.
The Washington Capitals worked for an hour yesterday morning before breaking for the holiday. Three players right wing Jaromir Jagr, left wing Peter Bondra and versatile forward Dainius Zubrus who were too injured to take part in Wednesday's 4-2 victory over Calgary either took part in practice or tried to.
"The guys looked like they're all right, but you never know," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "When you're day-to-day, they're all game-time decisions. You want your best players in the lineup every night, [so] when they're ready, they're in."
Cassidy won't know until tonight whether Jagr or Bondra will be able to go tonight against the Ottawa Senators. He already knows Zubrus won't be dressing because of an injured hand.
Jagr missed the Calgary game because a chronic groin problem suddenly began to bother him again. He played with it hurting Tuesday night in Toronto, but his mobility was limited. Taking him out of Wednesday's game was a no-brainer.
Bondra came up tight a week ago in a game against Minnesota and has been hampered by back spasms since, severely restricting his movement. He has missed three games and yesterday did not appear to have quite the spunk he normally exhibits.
"I think Jagr will be ready," Cassidy said. "He said he felt pretty good. He went through half the practice, part of it at full speed. Bondra, he made it through practice. Zubie, he can't grip his stick, so he's probably the least probable of the bunch."
Said Jagr, the last player to leave the ice yesterday: "In 24 hours, we'll know even more. I hope to play. I played in Toronto. Didn't help much, but I played."
Left wing Ivan Ciernik and center Colin Forbes were recalled from Portland to help fill the void, and both played pretty well against the Flames. But if Bondra plays tonight, which would remove his name from the injured reserve list, the Caps will have to make a personnel move to stay within the 23-man limit.
Washington's game against the Flames was one of its best recently, but the Caps have won only two of their last eight, both against bottom feeders.
"We were a safer team [against the Flames]," Cassidy said. "Every time [Calgary] scored, we didn't get down on ourselves, we came right back and got the next goal quickly. I think that's the key for a team that's not winning on a regular basis because we're still learning how to win a lot of nights, how to deal with adversity, how to deal with success.
"I'm more concerned with how we come out [tonight]," he said. "We had a good game. We won, but that's over and now it's time to prepare for Ottawa, make sure we're prepared to go against a pretty good team. That's been an issue with us we haven't been able to establish a good winning streak."
Washington held an advantage in shots after the first period Wednesday night, a rarity in itself, but squandered four power-play chances.
Note Goalie Olie Kolzig was told to take yesterday off, so he rode a stationary bike and went home.
"He's played a lot of hockey and will continue to play a lot of hockey. His wife gave birth Sunday, and I thought he probably hadn't had a lot of sleep lately," Cassidy said. "He basically needed a day to rest. He's worked so hard, and he's the type of guy who would never come and say, 'I need a day off.' This is a good time for it."


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