- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:
BREAK STARTS The All-Star break has started for the NHL and when action resumes Tuesday, most teams will have 30 or fewer games to play before the end of the regular season. It's not exactly crunch time, but everyone associated with the league knows it's coming.
"I hadn't realized we've lost only three games in regulation over the last 20," Caps coach Bruce Cassidy said before the game against Pittsburgh. Actually, it's three losses in regulation over the last 21. The Caps have gone 10-3-5-3, earning 28 out of a possible 42 points.
"One of those games was in here against Toronto; we only gave up 12 chances, it was one of those nights we were a little bit flat. St. Louis the other night, we had Dainius Zubrus in on a great chance, I don't know what happened. (He hit a post). We had a couple other good chances, we were going along pretty good. They made three plays, nothing spectacular, there weren't huge breakdowns, that's a game we should have won. The Ottawa game, they were better than us, plain and simple.
"And during that stretch I don't think we won a lot of games we didn't deserve to. It wasn't like we stole the games. Along the way I thought we'd been the better team a lot of nights. At the start of the year we won some games when I didn't think we were the better team."
OUT AGAIN Defenseman Rick Berry was a healthy scratch for the seventh straight game, the 17th time this season. Jason Doig, on the other hand, has played in every game since Dec.16.
"We just feel Berry and Doig are similar, being physical, stay-at-home guys, and I think Doig has just added more to that mix," said Cassidy. "He's bigger and stronger, a bit older and he's taken advantage of the opportunity."
Another player muscling his way in on a try-out basis is Joel Kwiatkowski, picked up in mid-January from Ottawa. He has played every game since Jan.18 and Cassidy said the defenseman "is being given a reasonable period of time to prove he can't play for us."
TWO ADDED The Caps activated left wing Steve Konowalchuk from injured reserve and recalled defenseman J.F. Fortin from his conditioning assignment in Portland. To make room for Konowalchuk, right wing Stephen Peat was re-assigned to Portland.
Dave Fay

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