- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

THE VOTES ARE IN — Even though center Robert Lang is the NHL’s leading scorer and Sergei Gonchar is tops among defensemen, neither is among the leaders for the Eastern Conference All-Star team in early balloting released yesterday. Lang, incredibly, is just 10th among centers, and Gonchar is fourth among defensemen. Jaromir Jagr (seventh) and Peter Bondra (19th) are Washington’s wings on the ballot, and Olie Kolzig is eighth among goalies.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS# — Washington coach Glen Hanlon gave the players today and tomorrow off. In fact, the Caps won’t hit the ice again until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, making for a nearly three-day respite from what has been the team’s worst start in 22 years.

CRITICAL TIME — The Caps are in the midst of 11 straight games against Eastern Conference rivals. Washington was 1-1-2 in the first four such games and is 8-11-3 this year against the East. If the Caps, who entered the game in 14th place, nine points out of the last playoff spot, don’t gain ground during this stretch, the final three months of the season might well be moot.

DOIG, PETTINGER DO A GOOD DEED — Defenseman Jason Doig and left wing Matt Pettinger will help feed more than 375 underprivileged and/or homeless children and their families a Christmas meal tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the District ChopHouse & Brewery as part of the “Miracle on Seventh Street.” Each family also will receive gifts from the Caps, toys from Toys for Tots, a phone card from MCI as well as toiletries and non-perishable food from the Capital Area Food Bank.

David Elfin

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