- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Seen and heard last night at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh:

OLIE OUT: The Caps were jolted by some stunning news before the game started. Starting goalie Olie Kolzig was relegated to backup duty, a club spokesman said, after injuring a hand during the morning skate.

Kolzig took part in the entire skate with the rest of the team, spoke to the media afterward and did not let on at any point that he was hurt. Nobody seemed to know exactly when he was injured, how he was injured or whether he would be able to play tomorrow night against Boston in the Caps' second home game of the season.

Kolzig missed three games with a knee injury last season and spent the summer rehabbing. He was in the best shape of his career this season before the injury. The Caps indicated another goalie would be called up for practice today.

Also out was defenseman Brendan Witt, who missed his second game in a row. Saturday night in Florida a club spokesman revealed only that Witt was "banged up," but the spokesman said yesterday the defenseman has a groin pull.

HUNTER BACK: The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League had the night off, so the team's co-owner and coach took the opportunity to drive down and see the Caps. Dale Hunter, who retired three years ago after 19 seasons in the league, including a dozen with Washington, said he was just visiting. But he was immediately grabbed by some of the players asking for advice on taking faceoffs, something that has been troublesome for the Caps.

"When I first broke in, I was terrible," the retired center said. "The only way to get better is to watch the good guys and practice, practice reactions and timing. I spent hours watching Guy Carbonneau, Petr Statsny, Mark Messier, guys like that. [Former Cap Bengt] Gustafsson, too. He was strong, that guy.

"What I tell guys is not to go out there hoping you'll win a faceoff. Go out there determined to find a way to win it."

WHERE'S HENRY?: The Caps claimed Edmonton defenseman Alex Henry off waivers five days ago, but he has yet to materialize. The club said he was being delayed by immigration problems. The team has to make a roster move when the defenseman arrives.

• Dave Fay

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