- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2004


SUNRISE, Fla. — Jaromir Jagr is gone, but the Sergei Gonchar trade rumors will go on the back burner. The NHL’s top scoring defenseman separated his left shoulder in the Washington Capitals’ 4-1 loss last night to the Florida Panthers.

“It’s pretty bad,” Gonchar said with his arm in a sling as he left Office Depot Center.

Gonchar, who hasn’t missed a game since March30, 2002, was injured on a violent hit by Panthers left wing Niklas Hagman late in the second period. Gonchar has 43 points this year.

The loss of the three-time All-Star defenseman followed the departure of five-time All-Star right wing Peter Bondra, also the subject of trade rumors, in the first period with back spasms.

“I don’t think it’s that bad, but we’ll have to see,” said Bondra, who missed three games last season with back spasms and is second on the team with 17 goals.

Without Jagr, Bondra and Gonchar, Washington played the third period with 16 skaters. All-Star center Robert Lang (58 points) is the only healthy Cap with more than 23 points.

Little-used right wing Stephen Peat, who didn’t make the trip to Florida because of chest pains, is Washington’s only extra skater, so general manager George McPhee likely will have to recall players from Portland of the American Hockey League for tomorrow night’s home game with Philadelphia.

David Elfin

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