- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

NEW HOME — Ken Klee was a fixture on the Washington blue line for nine seasons until a contract dispute at the end of last season sent him packing. He ended up wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform (No. 22 instead of No. 2). He has plugged a huge hole for the Leafs on defense and is among the team leaders with a plus-9 defensive rating.

Like others, Klee initially had problems with former coach Bruce Cassidy, but he maintains the difficulties were resolved. With the Caps, Klee was teamed with offensive-minded defenseman Sergei Gonchar, and that in itself guarantees lots of ice time.

“[Cassidy] was a new coach,” Klee told Toronto reporters the other day. “I was trying to find my role on the team and what he thought my role was going to be. We had a couple discussions. He was a guy who came up from the minors and wanted to give chances to some younger guys. Obviously, my opinion differed. I said we needed a veteran defense to win. I think as I proved myself to him, I was correct — we did need veteran defense to win.”

More than one person wasn’t listening when Klee offered some advice.

A TIE IS A … — The Caps have been involved in only one game this season where the team leading at the end of the second period failed to win. That game was the Caps’ first visit to Toronto, Oct. 13, when Robert Lang scored in the third period to salvage a tie for Washington.

SLAP SHOTS — Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders will be a 6:09 p.m. start, an hour earlier than usual. … Peter Bondra played in his 940th Caps game, tying the retired Kelly Miller for second place on Washington’s all-time list. Calle Johansson is first with 983. … The annual moratorium on trades began at midnight last night and continues through Dec. 27. Nonetheless, Philadelphia had three scouts watching the game including Paul Holmgren, GM Bobby Clarke’s right hand man. Nobody was giving reasons why the Flyers had three scouts in the building, but one of the areas where Philadelphia would like to get stronger is in goal. Might another team be trying to pry Olie Kolzig away from the Caps?

Dave Fay

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