Prospect Tries to Make Most Of 3rd Try

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 6, 2006

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 5 -- Washington Capitals prospect Tomas Fleischmann was confused and disappointed as he drove back to Hershey, Pa., following his second demotion in about a week early last month.

But he didn't sulk when he arrived. Instead, the 22-year-old left wing scored eight goals in the Hershey Bears' first seven games, and as a result, earned another chance.

"I played in Hershey the only way I know how," said Fleischmann, who met the Capitals in Philadelphia for Saturday's game against the Flyers. "I knew I had to play like that to come back here, which is what I [wanted] to do."

Though limited to only 7 minutes 39 seconds of ice time, Fleischmann, whom management hopes will develop into a 20-to-30 goal scorer in the NHL, recorded two shots on goal and an assist in the 5-3 victory at Wachovia Center, where the Capitals (5-4-4) snapped an 0-15-1 drought on Broad Street.

"I like the addition of Fleischmann," Capitals Coach Glen Hanlon said outside of the visitors' locker room. "I thought he played well, made some nice plays. He [also] got some chances on the power play."

Fleischmann skated with fellow prospect Jakub Klepis and veteran Matt Pettinger. But it's possible, if not likely, Fleischmann will eventually move to right wing, a position he's played in international competition with Czech junior national team.

Saturday's appearance was Fleischmann's second this season for the Capitals. After being cut two weeks into training camp, he played in a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 7. But he was sent back to the minor leagues after the game.

The Capitals earned a day off Sunday with their victory in Philadelphia. On Monday they will host Dany Heatley and the struggling Ottawa Senators, who have lost three in a row.

Slumping Semin

Alexander Semin, after getting off to the fastest start in Capitals history with eight goals in his first seven NHL games, has been held without a goal the past six contests. His number of shots on goal also has dropped significantly.

The left wing averaged 4.4 more shots per game in the season's first seven games, but has averaged 1.5 during his scoreless streak.

Against the Flyers, Semin skated on the fourth line alongside grinder Boyd Gordon and enforcer Donald Brashear. He'll likely remain there against the Senators.

Quick Hits

Backup goaltender Brent Johnson earned his first victory in four starts Saturday, improving to 1-1-2. Johnson has a 2.64 goals against average and a dazzling .924 save percentage. . . .

Shaone Morrisonn's goal against the Flyers was the defenseman's first this season. His lone score in 80 games a year ago didn't come until April 7. . . .

After the Capitals took a 4-1 first period lead in Philadelphia, the loudest fans in the NHL let the Flyers hear it.

"We are not playing well enough to get the crowd into it," captain Peter Forsberg said. "We are not playing good enough to make them cheer. I would be the same way." At 3-9-1, the floundering Flyers are the league's worst team. . . .

Capitals right wing Richard Zednik did not travel to Philadelphia after suffering an undisclosed injury in the second period of Friday's loss to the Thrashers. Notoriously secretive about the location and severity of injuries, the Capitals did not provide an update Sunday. The Harrisburg Patriot-News, which covers the Bears, reported in Sunday's editions that Zednik suffered a broken wrist.

Hanlon said before Saturday's game that Zednik could miss a week.

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