Washington Capitals left wing Craig Berube missed today's 3-2 victory over the Bruins in Boston after NHL Vice President Brian Burke suspended him for two games and fined him the maximum penalty of $1,000 for a slash on Ottawa Senators winger Dennis Vial in a game last Wednesday.

The two-handed slash, a retaliation for a trip near the end of the third period, hit Vial's chest and also caught linesman Stephane Provost on the helmet.

"While it is clear from the videotape that Mr. Berube did not intend to strike linesman Provost, his use of the stick was deliberate and reckless," said Burke, who attended today's game. "It's not like Craig Berube to use his stick like that. We haven't had problems like this with him before, and we don't expect any in the future."

Berube, who found out about the suspension about an hour before game time, said he was not surprised by the ruling. "You swing your stick and you're going to get penalized," he said. "I kind of lost it, but I know not to do it again."

Berube's absence would have left the Capitals a man short on the usual 20-man roster, but defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who hadn't played since leaving a game with back spasms Dec. 28, was able to skate.

Defenseman Eric Charron, who had been skating in Gonchar's place, stayed on the roster.

Utility player Ken Klee moved back to forward.