- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Seen and heard last night at Bell Centre in Montreal:

SPLIT DECISION The United States' national anthem was greeted with something less than 100 percent support by Montreal fans, despite a plea by legendary Canadiens forward Jean Beliveau for a display of sportsmanship.

"The Star Spangled Banner" was accompanied by a healthy chorus of boos when Charles Prevots-Linton started singing. There were soon an equal number of cheers until finally the applause and cheering all but drowned out the boos.

Heavy criticism was aimed at the Montreal fans after the national anthem was lustily booed last Thursday night.

SHUFFLING LINES Jaromir Jagr returned to the lineup, forcing realignment of the forward lines. It gives the team, for the first time, an opportunity to put all its offensive talent on the ice at the same time.

The first unit reverts to what it was before injuries shredded it Kip Miller on the left, Michael Nylander at center and Jagr on the right. The second line is the one that had been getting top billing Sergei Berezin on the left side, Robert Lang in the middle and Dainius Zubrus on the right. The checking unit Steve Konowalchuk, Jeff Halpern and Mike Grier stays the same.

The fourth unit is being bulked up in the hopes it can become a multi-purpose line, a checking unit that has the ability to score but also, when needed, a line that can provide a solid physical presence. Brian Sutherby will center with Peter Bondra on the left and Ivan Ciernik on the right, being spelled by Josh Green, Alex Henry or Stephen Peat, depending on what combination is needed.

BOUMEDIENNE CALLED UP Washington has called up Josef Boumedienne, robbing the minor league Portland Pirates of their best player. The defenseman played when veteran Ken Klee sat out with a badly bruised right foot.

Boumedienne, 25, was obtained in a Dec. 16 trade with Ottawa for defenseman Dean Melanson. Boumedienne played 70 games in the American Hockey League this season with 10 goals and 47 points to go with a plus-19 defensive rating. He is a native of Stockholm.

The Caps are his fourth NHL organization. With New Jersey a year ago, he played in the Devils' season opener and scored his only goal at this level against Olie Kolzig.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said Boumedienne was a typical Swedish-trained player smart defensively with good puck-moving ability. His drawback is size 6-foot-1, 195.

Dave Fay

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