- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2003

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Peter Bondra, who led the Washington Capitals with four goals during the team's abbreviated playoff run, has decided to play for his native Slovakia in the IIHF World Championships currently being held in Finland.
Bondra was the star of the Slovak national team last spring when the club upset Russia in the championship game with the Caps wing scoring the winning goal. The Slovak's victory set off celebrations across the country, with Bondra hailed as a national hero.
That the Slovaks can use Bondra this season was readily apparent yesterday. In their opening game, the defending champions were soundly beaten by archrival Czech Republic 5-2. Slovakia plays the Ukraine today and Japan tomorrow.
Among the players waiting to greet Bondra is former Cap Richard Zednik, now playing for Montreal.
Bondra scored 30 goals for the Caps during the regular season and had 56 points. He scored twice in Washington's last game of the season, allowing him to move one point ahead of retired Mike Gartner, a Hall of Famer, and become the all-time leading scorer in Washington history with 790 points.
While other leading hockey countries had little problems yesterday, the United States was shocked by Denmark 5-2. If that is any indication of the strength of the U.S. team, the Yanks will have to improve rapidly to avoid the relegation round and possible demotion to the B pool.
Dave Fay


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