- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2003

Seen and heard last night at Corel Centre in Ottawa:

NEW KID IN TOWN# — Left wing Bates Battaglia, acquired from Colorado for Steve Konowalchuk on Wednesday, wore No. 13 in his Washington debut. Battaglia, like Konowalchuk, is American, joining right wing Mike Grier, defenseman John Gruden (activated from injured reserve yesterday), center Jeff Halpern and left wing Kip Miller in Washington’s five-man USA contingent. Battaglia, a 27-year-old Chicago native, played three seasons at Lake Superior State before breaking into the NHL with Carolina in 1997-1998.

“Playing with [Southeast Division rival] Carolina, I got sort of sick of playing against these guys,” said Battaglia, who had no goals and one assist in four games for the Avalanche. “It’s nice to be a part of them now. I know [the Avalanche] weren’t happy with the way things were going so I thought something might happen, but I didn’t know it would happen that quick. It was a bit of surprise. I’m a big, physical guy [6-foot-2, 205 pounds] who can make some room out there for some of the boys.”

Against the Senators, those boys were fourth-liners Halpern (Konowalchuk’s longtime linemate) and Battaglia’s fellow former Avalanche, Brian Willsie, although coach Bruce Cassidy said that combination is subject to change.

“Bates is a strong skater and a hard-working guy who has had a lot of success in this division [career highs of 21 goals and 46 points during Carolina’s 2002 Eastern Conference title season],” Cassidy said. “He certainly has some similarities to Kono. We’ll see where he fits in.”

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR# — The trade of Konowalchuk left four players from the 1998 Washington team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals. They are right wing Peter Bondra, defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Brendan Witt and goalie Olie Kolzig.

CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN — Konowalchuk’s departure left no one wearing the captain’s “C” for the Caps, at least until the team reconvenes at Piney Orchard on Monday. For the game in Ottawa and tomorrow’s road trip finale in Toronto, center Robert Lang joined right wings Grier and Jaromir Jagr in wearing the “A” for assistant captain that Bondra and Witt wear at home.

Konowalchuk, a captain or co-captain (with Witt) since the fall of 2001, was the one of 11 players to ever wear the “C” for Washington. Cassidy said he isn’t sure if the Caps will have a new captain, rotate the “C” or just stick with three assistants.

David Elfin

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