- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003

The Washington Capitals yesterday recalled center Trent Whitfield from the Portland (Maine) Pirates, perhaps a more significant move than just another recall.

“We’re really going to try to send a message to all these guys that good team players will be rewarded,” new coach Glen Hanlon said. “[He and assistant coach Randy Carlyle] have a chance to voice an opinion and that’s the way we go, that quality team people will be rewarded for their effort and dedication to the team and game.”

Hanlon said he wanted to get Whitfield, a first-class grinder and agitator and very adept at winning draws, into the lineup as soon as possible, maybe even tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at MCI Center. He was unsure what forward he would take out of the lineup, but he has several underachievers to pick from.

Whitfield has played 100 NHL games, 99 for the Caps during several recalls starting with the playoffs at the end of the 1999-‘00 season. He has three goals and nine points in the NHL, and he was leading the Pirates this season with eight goals and 15 points.

To make room for Whitfield, wing Ivan Ciernik was sent to Portland. He had been recalled Nov.24 and had a goal and an assist.

Notes — The Caps currently have an opening on their roster because Alexander Semin was loaned to the Russian national junior team to compete in the World Junior Championships in Finland. … Right wing Mike Grier was excused from practice yesterday to be with his wife as she gave birth to the couple’s first child.

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