Capitals Waive Chris Bourque Because of Salary Cap Concerns

One day after being elated to learn he'd finally made it out of the minor leagues and would start the season as a Washington Capital, forward Chris Bourque is told he's been put on waivers.
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One day after being told he had made the team, Chris Bourque was placed on waivers by the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of salary cap concerns.

Bourque likely wouldn't have been waived had the Capitals managed to move Michael Nylander as the team had hoped. Despite ongoing attempts, however, the Capitals have been unable to secure a deal to transfer the 36-year-old center to a team outside of the NHL and thus must absorb his $4.875-million cap hit.

Because Nylander was not waived, it's expected he will be on the opening night roster by 3 p.m. Wednesday, at which time teams must cut down to a maximum of 23 players and be under the salary cap ceiling of $56.8 million.

"We'll see," General Manager George McPhee said of Nylander, who has two years remaining on his contract but has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and management. "We're still working on things."

If Bourque is claimed by another team, the Capitals will not receive any compensation. If he clears, it's possible he could be assigned to Hershey of American Hockey League, and Nylander could be in the lineup for the opener Thursday in Boston because of injuries to Tomas Fleischmann (deep vein thrombosis) and Eric Fehr (surgery on both shoulders).

'A's for Effort

Coach Bruce Boudreau has settled on the team's alternate captains. Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble and Tom Poti were wearing the 'A's on their jerseys for the team photo Tuesday.

Knuble has not played a regular season game for the Capitals but has already taken on a leadership role within the locker room, Boudreau said. Knuble skated on the second line with Brendan Morrisonn and Brooks Laich during Tuesday's practice, rather than in his usual spot on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

"He's well respected," Boudreau said. "Guys appreciate guys who have been through all the wars. And Mike has been through all the wars." . . .

Michal Neuvirth returned to practice after being sidelined four days with an undisclosed injury. But the young goaltender left the ice after only 30 minutes and did not return. . . .

Forwards Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux have cleared waivers and been assigned to Hershey. . . . Asked whether the Capitals might be overconfident entering the season, Boudreau said: "What do we have to be overconfident about? We haven't done diddly."

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