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OT: Dahlen Not To Return to Caps


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Dahlen was a nice find as a 29 year old vet to play on the #3 line back in 1999, but he wants a multiyear deal for over $2 million a season. I am glad the Caps are passing on resigning him.

The news about Petr Sykora coming here from the Czech league is interesting. He has the physical skills to be a 35-45 type player in the NHL and has very good size as well.................


Team Likely Won't Re-Sign Dahlen

By Jason La Canfora

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 10, 2002; Page D04

The Washington Capitals do not plan to pursue re-signing free agent winger Ulf Dahlen, sources said. Dahlen, 35, scored 23 goals last season -- fourth on the team -- and had played well on a premier checking line, but the team would like to add more speed to the wing position.

General Manager George McPhee would not comment other than to confirm that he has not had recent contact with Dahlen's agent, Mike Gillis. Gillis said he is talking with several other teams about Dahlen and that he has no agreement with the Capitals to allow them to match an offer from another team.

Dahlen had three solid seasons for Washington since being signed out of Sweden and formed a tight bond on a line with Jeff Halpern and Steve Konowalchuk; that trio was the Capitals' most consistent line the last two years. However, sources said the team is interested in slipping a younger, quicker player to skate alongside Konowalchuk and Halpern, with center Andrei Nikolishin a candidate to move from center to the right wing.

Dahlen made $1.65 million last season and likely would seek about $2 million a season in a two-year deal.

The Capitals signed minor league free agents Kip Miller and Dwayne Zinger yesterday and continue to negotiate with European forward Petr Sykora. Miller, 33, stands a good chance of making the team, having excelled while playing with Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh and playing for Coach Bruce Cassidy in the minors.

Miller led Grand Rapids (Mich.) of the American Hockey League with 21 goals and 56 points in 41 games last season while playing under Cassidy, and he has played parts of 10 seasons in the NHL, including a stint with the New York Islanders last season. Miller scored 19 goals and 42 points -- career highs -- playing on Jagr's line in Pittsburgh in 1998-99 and can play center or either wing position.

"We thought he'd be a valuable player for us because of his versatility," McPhee said. "He's a guy who is comfortable playing anywhere in the lineup."

Miller's brothers, Kelly and Kevin, also played for the Capitals, making the family just the eighth in the NHL to have three brothers play for the same franchise.

The rights to Sykora, 23, were acquired from Nashville last month and he is signed to play in the Czech Republic again next season. Washington has until July 15 to sign Sykora or he cannot come over to North America, or agree to a new contract, until the end of his European season. The team has had internal discussions about playing Sykora with Robert Lang and Peter Bondra on a key offensive line next season.

"He's expressed some interest in coming over here, and we're trying to get [a contract] done," McPhee said. "We should know something by the end of the week."

Rich Winter, Sykora's agent, said he expects the Capitals to accept a proposal with a salary comparable to what he had asked from Nashville in recent seasons. Sykora, drafted 76th overall by Detroit in 1997, has good size (6 feet 3, 206 pounds) and skills and scored 18 goals and 26 points in 32 games in the Czech Elite League last season.

"All they have to do is agree to the proposal and Petr would be on the next plane to Washington," Winter said. "It's not something that should be a big problem. I would think the Capitals would be happy to get a player who they believe can play on their second line at this price. . . . I'd assume it's something they would accept."

Zinger, 26, spent the last two years playing in the AHL and is a big, physical defenseman signed to provide depth to Washington's top affiliate in Portland, Maine.

Talking It Over

McPhee said he and Cassidy have finished interviewing assistant coaching candidates and expect to announce their decision in the next few days. McPhee said Tim Hunter and Tim Army, assistants under former coach Ron Wilson, are among the finalists. . . .

The Capitals expect forwards Chris Simon, Ivan Ciernik and Glen Metropolit to accept their qualifying offers for next season. . . . Eligible restricted free agents have until Monday to file for salary arbitration; among the Capitals, Dainius Zubrus, Nikolishin and Colin Forbes have arbitration rights. . . .

Eight of the Capitals' 10 October games next season will be on the road, according to league sources. The schedule should be released within a week.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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