- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

JAGR STAYING PUT — Caps officials denied the latest report, this one out of Toronto, that right wing Jaromir Jagr is being traded to the New York Rangers. The rumors persist because despite his point-a-game pace there’s a belief that Jagr, a five-time NHL scoring champion with Pittsburgh, is underachieving. Jagr’s $11 million a year contract is also an albatross of which the Caps, who are struggling at the gate as much as they are on the ice, would like to be relieved. The Rangers, in the battle for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots, are one of the few teams that could afford Jagr. However, the likelihood of a lockout next season makes having expensive, 30-something players an unattractive possibility for any team.

WERNER HONORED — Chevy Chase’s Stephen Werner, who scored five goals to help lead Team USA to the gold medal at this month’s World Junior Championships in Helsinki, was saluted during the game. The 19-year-old Werner, Washington’s third-round pick in the 2003 draft, matched up well with Caps left wing Alexander Semin of Team Russia in Helsinki.

“Semin high-sticked me once, but I don’t think he knew we were part of the same organization,” Werner said with a smile. “I played against his line a lot of the game and I’ve done well against him in the past, but it’s hard to say, ‘He’s in the NHL, so why am I not?’ That’s probably in my future, but probably not for a couple of years.”

For now, Werner is focusing on his psychology studies at the University of Massachusetts, which he said helps prepare for games. He plays right wing for the 14th-ranked Minutemen. As for the gold medal, Werner said that’s staying behind at home which he left after his sophomore year at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to play for the national under-17 and then under-18 teams.

NO TIME SOON — When center Michael Nylander broke his leg in practice on Oct. 3, the Caps announced he would be out four to six weeks. Later, that was revised to a more realistic eight to 12 weeks. Tomorrow will be 16 weeks since the injury. Nylander had been skating and working out, but tests showed that the leg hasn’t healed. So Nylander has been told to put his rehab on hold for two weeks. After that, his leg will be re-examined, but it’s hard to imagine he can be back before March. This from a player who ended last season with an NHL-high consecutive games streak of 310.

David Elfin

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