- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

HOLDOUT SIGNS — Restricted free agent Marian Gaborik and the Minnesota Wild agreed to a deal after a bitter contract dispute. The club said only that it was a multiyear deal; no financial figures were released. Last season the right wing earned a base salary of $1.075 million, but his pay came to $4.4 million after performance bonuses were factored in.

It was just a week ago the wing said negotiations were over and he was returning to his native Slovakia to play there this season. Wild general manager Doug Risebrough said Gaborik wanted to be treated differently from his teammates, and the GM refused to do that.

Gaborik signed the deal yesterday and practiced immediately, although it was obvious he was out of shape. Nonetheless, he is expected to be in the lineup tonight in St. Paul when the Wild play the Caps.

NO DAFOE — Atlanta coach Bob Hartley had a change of heart that spoiled a reunion for Washington fans. Hartley originally said he would use goalie Byron Dafoe against the Caps but changed his mind and used Dafoe on Thursday night in a 3-2 loss at Minnesota. Dafoe was Washington’s second pick in the 1989 draft and spent six seasons in the Caps’ system, appearing in 10 games with a 3-3-1 record before he was traded to Los Angeles after a nasty contract dispute.

The Caps’ first choice in that draft was Olie Kolzig, and the two initially were not close. They ended up being best friends and still are despite a physical encounter during a Caps-Boston game some years ago.

Dafoe has a record of 1-2 with a 6.76 goals-against when he faces Washington.

SLAP SHOTS — Caps rookie defenseman Steve Eminger turned 20. … The Caps were credited with 20 shots in the opening period, their season high for one period. … Atlanta’s goal in the first period came on a power play, the eighth straight game in which Washington has allowed at least one power-play goal.

Center Brian Sutherby and left wing Kip Miller were the Caps’ healthy scratches. The club has not brought anybody up to replace defenseman Josef Boumedienne, who was sent to Portland, Maine, a few days ago.

Dave Fay

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