-- The Washington Capitals made their first significant round of training camp cuts on Sunday, assigning 20 players to the club's minor league affiliate in Hershey, Pa. The Hershey Bears, of the American Hockey League, open their training camp on Thursday.
There were few surprises on the list of demotions. Among the players reassigned were defenseman Jean-Francois Fortin as well as forwards Jonas Johansson, Tomas Fleischmann, Brooks Laich and Owen Fussey.
Several highly touted prospects, meantime, have extended their tryout. Forwards Eric Fehr, Jakub Klepis and Chris Bourque and defensemen Jeff Schultz and Mike Green have impressed the coaching staff during the first week of camp, although it remains to be seen which, if any of them, will play in the NHL this season.
Washington now has 33 players in camp. Two more key players, forwards Alexander Semin and Petr Sykora, are expected to join the team once their visa issues are resolved, perhaps this week. The roster must be trimmed to 23 players by Oct. 5, when the Capitals open the regular season at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Capitals took Sunday off, their first break since opening camp on Sept. 12. They will resume practice on Monday and Tuesday at Piney Orchard Ice Arena, then host the Sabres in a preseason game at MCI Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Note: Peter Bondra joined the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday. He signed a one-year incentive-laden contract with a base salary $505,000 and could earn up to another $2.9 million in incentives.