- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

The Washington Capitals embarrassed themselves last night, and according to their biggest star, it could have been worse.
"We played a good hockey club tonight," said right wing Jaromir Jagr, "but I think they can play a lot better."
That's a pretty sobering thought, considering that the Caps were drilled 6-2 by the Toronto Maple Leafs at MCI Center, allowing a season-high four power-play goals, getting goals from only first-line personnel again and failing to make much of a dent in the Leafs.
The loss was the second in a row for Washington and put its lead in the Southeast Division in serious jeopardy. Tampa Bay, which trailed the Caps by six points less than a week ago, can move into first place tonight with a victory at Carolina and will still have a game in hand.
Washington did very little right and when it made a mistake, which was often, the Leafs made the Caps pay. The Caps hadn't allowed six goals in more than two months, and the last time they did, they won.
Coach Bruce Cassidy strongly indicated he didn't get complete games from some of his players, especially some close to the top of the salary ladder. He refused to identify them.
"I see a guy like Jaromir Jagr, who was the best player on the ice, and he's going now," the coach said. "In Tampa Bay, he wanted to make things happen. So we've got some guys out there who want to make a difference, and we've got some guys who look like to me … like they don't want to make the difference, don't want to be the guy who's put on the spot or be the go-to guy. They just want to play their game and let someone else do it.
"And at some point, when you're a guy at the top of the pay scale and considered a star on your team, you got to step up in those games. That's all I'm going to say. It's not a criticism, it's a challenge. When I see a guy like Jagr going like he is and [his] line on a consistent basis creating offense, we need more out of our other guys. And we didn't get it."
Gary Roberts, who was playing his third game since returning from surgery on both shoulders, had two goals and an assist for Toronto. Alexander Mogilny had three assists, and goalie Eddie Belfour had to make possibly a half-dozen tough saves.
But it was a goal by Travis Green nearly 12 minutes into the third period that sealed Washington's fate. Goalie Olie Kolzig was out of position and let a shot pass through the crease, right to where Green stood unattended. It may have been one of the easiest goals he ever scored.
That made it 4-2 less than two minutes after the Caps had gotten back to within one. Jagr got the Caps' second when he skated into traffic, lost control, regained it and swept the puck through Belfour. It was his 32nd of the season.
Washington's initial goal came from Kip Miller, his 12th, a chip shot from the edge of the crease when a Toronto defender failed to clear the puck. Robert Lang, the first line center, assisted on both Caps goals.


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