- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

Last night at Verizon Center:

SEEN AND HEARD

Brian Willsie returned to Washington last night for the first time since signing with Los Angeles in the offseason. Willsie played two seasons with the Capitals.

He had 19 goals, 41 points and 77 penalty minutes last year before accepting a two-year, $1.7 million deal with the Kings.

“I did like Brian Willsie. I pick up the league stats and try to follow and see when he scores a goal,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said before the game. “I know he enjoyed his time here and we enjoyed having him — everybody from the players to the coaches.”

Willsie, who roomed with Alex Ovechkin on road trips last season, has taken on a similar role in Los Angeles, staying with Kings’ top young star Anze Kopitar when they are away from home.

QUOTABLE

“With this unbalanced schedule you almost seem to remove yourself the Pacific Division, and especially the Central and the teams that we don’t even play. I could hardly even tell you who is on Columbus’ and St. Louis’ teams because it doesn’t even pertain to what we are doing here.”

— Hanlon on the much-debated current NHL schedule format. The Caps play one Western Conference division at home, one division on the road and one not at all each season.

BY THE NUMBERS

9 Different players who have led the Caps in ice time in a game this season. Defensemen Milan Jurcina (Sunday against the New York Islanders), Jeff Schultz (Tuesday against Boston) and center Boyd Gordon (last night) are the newest names on the list.

Corey Masisak

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