- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Seen and heard last night at St. Petersburg Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.:
CAPS BACKER Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said he wasn't fooled by Washington's record, which would place the Caps, after their traditional slow start, 11th overall in the league.
"It's a good team, this Washington team," he said. "Don't let that record fool you. This team is one of the quality teams and will be one of the quality teams when all is said and done at the end of the year. They always start off slow, I don't know why, but they always tend to come on in the second half.
"The most impressive thing about them is their size. They've got size and they're obviously a very experienced club. You start with [Olie] Kolzig, always one of the best goalies in the league. He's so big he looks over some of our guys. But it's not only Kolzig, they've got a pretty darn good defense there, too. We've got to try to score some ugly goals on him, I don't know what else to do."
KEY STRETCH Starting Thursday the Caps will begin a four-game homestand, matching their longest of the season so far. It is a critical time for Washington because it will give the team and its fans a chance to see just how good the club is.
Toronto, fifth in the East, is at MCI Center Thursday night with defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit, fourth in the West, due to visit Saturday night. Montreal, battling for the last playoff spot, comes to town Monday followed by Buffalo on Wednesday.
TUNED OUT The Lightning and their fans appear to be the losers in a dispute between a local sports TV network and the cable firm that serves the area along the west coast of Florida. Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on the Sunshine Network on Jan.1 because the 10-year contract between the two had expired and no new deal could be reached.
"I just hate to think that we're playing the best hockey in the 11-year history of this franchise" and that the games are not on TV, general manager Jay Feaster said. "And now we are into the guts of the season. It just stinks."
Dave Fay

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