- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2003

Seen and heard at the MCI Center last night:

HE’S BACK — Washington right wing Jaromir Jagr showed up at the morning skate and said he wanted to try his ailing groin. He did, skated briefly and said he wanted to try it again just before the game. He did and played.

Jagr aggravated a chronic groin injury early Wednesday night in Buffalo and left for the night at the 14-minute mark of the opening period. He said he felt good enough to return for the third period, but the Caps were down by four after a horrific second period and thought it would be more beneficial for him to rest his leg.

It’s not like the Caps have many spares sitting around waiting to jump into Jagr’s spot. The Caps listed right wing Brian Willsie and center Boyd Gordon as their only healthy scratches, and neither has been mistaken for Jagr, at least on the scoreboard. It was the first game Gordon has missed.

“Jags said he wanted to try, wanted to go out just to see how it was and get off, but he wanted to play,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He wanted to come back in Buffalo, too, but it was 5-1, and there wasn’t much point.”

WELCOME TO TOWN — The Canadiens got to town on Thanksgiving, a day when most of the restaurants in the District and the suburbs are shut down. That left the team and its sizable traveling party scrambling for a place to eat. Many ended up at Old Ebbitt Grill, which was described as nearly deserted.

MILESTONES — Center Robert Lang played in his 600th NHL game, his 105th as a Cap. Kip Miller played in his 400th NHL game, his 89th as a Cap. The milestone was critical for Miller because he is now 100 percent vested for an NHL pension. All told, the three Miller brothers — Kelly, Kevin and Kip — have played 1,039 games for Washington.

OUT OF ACTION — The usual cast sat out with injuries: Goalie Sebastien Charpentier (hip), left wing Bates Battaglia (foot) and center Michael Nylander (broken leg) are all on injured reserve, while defenseman John Gruden (groin) is day-to-day.

Dave Fay

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