Gonchar Soaks Up Stint With the Stars

By Jason LaCanfora
The Washington Post, 2/5/01

DENVER, Feb. 4 -- Washington Capitals defenseman Sergei Gonchar tried to savor every moment of his first all-star game experience, smiling like an elementary school kid most of the weekend. Gonchar did not score any of the record 26 goals today at Pepsi Center, and his World All-Stars fell, 14-12, to the North American All-Stars, but it was still a quite memorable experience.

"It was fun, I really liked it," said Gonchar, who produced one assist today. "I never had an experience like this. "It was a great weekend, a lot of fun." Gonchar shuffled around the dressing room after the game, getting his World teammates to sign his all-star sweater. Gonchar was the only Capital to participate in the game. He will remain in Denver through Wednesday, when the Capitals face the Colorado Avalanche, excused from Washington's practices at Piney Orchard on Monday and Tuesday.

Despite the loss, Gonchar said skating with the best players on the planet today was his highlight. "I tried to enjoy the game as much as I can," the offensive defenseman said. "You don't have to think about backchecking or playing the trap."