- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

ANNIVERSARY TEAM Fans of the Portland Pirates have voted online for the American Hockey League's all-time team, part of the club's 10th anniversary observance. Eleven of the 12 players selected to the two teams have skated for the parent Caps.

Olie Kolzig is the first-team goalie, with Steve Poapst and Patrick Boileau on defense. The first-unit forwards are Andrew Brunette and Jeff Nelson, with Kent Hulst the one player who never skated for the Caps.

The second team includes Martin Brochu in goal, Sergei Gonchar and Nolan Baumgartner on defense and Kevin Kaminski, Glen Metropolit and Trent Whitfield up front.

NICE REMINDER Jim Rutherford, general manager of the troubled Carolina Hurricanes, was discussing his team's terrible performance this season with a Raleigh writer. One of last season's Stanley Cup finalists being in 13th place in the conference this late in the campaign was mentioned as being inconceivable.

"It's not completely unrealistic," Rutherford replied. "In 1994, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup and missed the playoffs the following year. And the following year, New Jersey did the same thing."

Rutherford, the former Detroit goalie, has a short memory. The Caps went to the finals in the summer of 1998 but were nowhere to be found when the playoffs started the following spring.

DOMINATION Only two teams, Washington and Carolina, have won Southeast Division titles, a pair apiece, and the way the two teams have manhandled the other division members reveals why. Before the game, the Caps had an all-time division record of 54-19-12-1, a winning percentage of .703. Carolina was 41-21-22-2, .616. The other three teams Florida, Atlanta and Tampa Bay were below .500.

Dave Fay

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