- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

A cursory check of the daily newspapers in South Florida yesterday morning seemed to reveal that one Alan Cohen, owner of the Florida Panthers of the NHL, is upset. One newspaper even described him as being furious.
That would seem to be very understandable. Mr. Cohen's team lost to the Washington Capitals Saturday night by the score of 12-2. Mr. Cohen's team had never allowed that many goals in a single game before and had never been beaten by a margin that large.
What transpired was that Mr. Cohen's forwards did not forecheck, but then again neither did they backcheck. While they didn't do those things, they made no effort to play defense, either.
But Mr. Cohen's defensemen did not defend, either. As a result, Mr. Cohen's goaltenders the Panthers played two could not tend goal with any degree of professionalism.
So it is easy to see why Mr. Cohen is upset, furious, if you will.
But Mr. Cohen is angry at the Caps. He is furious because he believes Washington was running up the score. (It is very obvious Mr. Cohen hasn't watched the Caps in action very often this season. Earlier in the year it took Washington seven games to accumulate a dozen goals. They went the next five games before they hit a dozen again, then went six straight and still couldn't get to 12. These Caps have never been confused with the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s.)
Mr. Cohen also is angry with coach Bruce Cassidy for orchestrating this dastardly deed, for allowing his offensive stars to remain in the game so they would humiliate the visitors.
Not even close. Once the first shot of the second period came to a stop behind goalie Jani Hurme only 17 seconds into the period, Cassidy was trying to map out ways to keep his team from blowing the lead and keep his gunners in check. It wasn't easy because the Panthers were allowing free and easy access to the slot area.
Jaromir Jagr, who had three goals and set up four others to tie personal and club records, did not take a shot in the third period. He played 3:38 in the last period, five shifts, mainly because the Caps were shorthanded Steve Konowalchuk was ejected in the second period and Calle Johansson left in the first with a sore back to begin with.
For the game, Mr. Cohen, Jagr played 7 minutes, 41 seconds less than he usually does. Robert Lang played three minutes less than normal, Sergei Gonchar (plus-7) saw 2 minutes less ice time than usual. Peter Bondra did get an extra 2:27 for the game but he didn't score until your club already was down 9-1.
Who replaced all these stalwarts? Cassidy admits he used ringers. There was, for instance, Jason Doig, the defenseman who scored goal No.9. Come on, Mr. Cohen, you remember Doig. He had a goal back there in October 1995 against Dallas. Doig got an extra 6:15 because Johansson was hurting and Gonchar was resting.
Then there was also the Henry kid, Alex. He started the game as a wing on the fourth line and ended up as a defenseman because the Caps were running out of bodies. Henry, who is 6-foot-6, 232 and, unfortunately, has the temperament of a sleeping rabbit, had averaged less than four minutes a game. Against the Panthers, he more than doubled that, but he didn't score.
Andreas Salomonsson, (no goals) logged an extra six minutes while Brendan Witt (no goals) and Ken Klee (no goals, but plus-7) also saw their ice time grow.
Yep, Mr. Cohen, there is reason to be upset, angry, even furious. But when the bullies were beating up the Caps a few months back, their owner shook his head, said he was heartbroken and went back to work. He didn't have time to be upset.

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