- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:
IN THE WINGS The trade that landed goalie Maxime Ouellet for the Caps last spring is looking better all the time. Ouellet, 21, had 21 saves Thursday night as Portland, Maine, beat Bridgeport, Conn., 1-0 in the American Hockey League. It was the ninth shutout of the season for the Pirates. Trent Whitfield, who was up for nine games with the Caps this season, had the lone Portland goal.
Ouellet, obtained from Philadelphia in the deal that sent center Adam Oates to the Flyers, is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts with a goals-against average of 0.99 and a saves percentage of .972. Five of his six league-leading shutouts have come during his current streak.
With goaltending like that, it is understandable that the Pirates are on a 9-1-1-1 streak.
STATS RETURNING Six years ago, the NHL came up with a series of statistics seemingly designed to match the never-ending barrage of stats thrown out by baseball. They included blocked shots, hits, giveaways and takeaways.
But what transpired was that agents were using the new stats to their clients' advantage and clubs were being forced to pay higher salary demands with "official" league stats backing the demands.
At the start of this season the league did away with the stats, claiming there was no consistency between locales, which was partially true. The league did not mention the negotiating aspect, and the NHL Players Association filed a grievance asking that the record-keeping be restored.
This week an arbitrator in Toronto agreed with the union and not only ordered the league to resume keeping the stats but to find a way to apply them for the entire season.
GOALIE OUT Toronto's normal starting goaltender, Ed Belfour, came up with a sore back yesterday and the club decided to play it safe and not dress him for the game. Trevor Kidd started for the Leafs; Mikael Tellqvist was recalled from Saint John's to back up. Also missing from the Toronto lineup was right wing Alexander Mogilny, the club's leading scorer (20-29-49), because of a badly bruised left foot.
Healthy scratches for Washington were left wing Ivan Ciernik and two players who have yet to wear a Caps jersey, left wing Josh Green and defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski.
Dave Fay


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