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Canadian Olympian expected to join Skipjacks today


The Skipjacks, who will have two new faces on the ice tonight, likely will add another player today -- one you might have seen on television during the Winter Olympics.

The Washington Capitals are expected to sign defenseman Brad Schlegel, who played for the Canadian silver-medal team in Albertville, France.

Schlegel, 23, was the eighth draft choice of the Capitals in 1988. A 5-foot-10, 180-pound defenseman from Kitchener, Ontario, he played for Team Canada the past four years. He had two goals and three assists in the Olympics.

Two other new players, center John Byce and defenseman Dennis Smith, have joined the team by way of a trade with the Maine Mariners, and defenseman Ken Sabourin has been returned from the Capitals for tonight's game against the Capital District Islanders at the Baltimore Arena.

The Skipjacks also will have a new head coach, Barry Trotz. Formerly the team's assistant coach, Trotz takes over for Rob Laird, who was let go Monday.

In another move yesterday, defenseman Mark Ferner was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 13th-round draft choice.

Trotz, who says he likes what he has seen so far in practices, will change some lines and defensive pairings in an attempt to recharge the Skipjacks, who are in last place in the American Hockey League Southern Division and are 2-13-2 in their past 17 games. Baltimore is seven points behind the Utica Devils for the

final playoff spot in the division.

"I'll probably use Byce centering one line with Bobby Reynolds and Reggie Savage. Trevor Halverson, Simon Wheeldon and Jeff Greenlaw will probably make up another line, and Steve Seftel, Tim Taylor and John Purves on another line," Trotz said. "The main change will be Halverson taking Seftel's spot and getting Byce into the lineup. I'll do some shifting around as the games progress. Whoever is going good will play. It will depend on the shifts in the games."

Trotz said the defensive pairings hinge on Ken Lovsin, who has back spasms.

"I'll probably use Sabourin, Smith, Chris Clarke and Jim Mathieson on the left side, and Jiri Vykoukal, Lovsin and Bobby Babcock on the right," he said. "It all depends on the availability of Lovsin."

The Skipjacks have shown a good attitude, with plenty of enthusiasm, in practice this week, the coach said.

"I think the guys realize that our goal is to make the playoffs and to win the Calder Cup," Trotz said. "The Capitals and Skipjacks have made a concerted effort to make changes that will point us in that direction. We all have a commitment to perform at our best the rest of the season."

Trotz said more changes could be made.

xTC "We want to put something good together here, and from what I've seen, the first changes have been positive," he said. "I like what I've seen so far, and now we have to make it happen on the ice."

Goalie Ollie Kolzig was recalled by the Capitals on Wednesday to back up Jim Hrivnak last night in St. Louis. Kolzig is expected to rejoin the Skipjacks in time for tonight's game.

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