Caps reject latest offer from agent of unsigned stars


The prospects of Washington Capitals forwards Peter Bondra and Michal Pivonka suiting up for the start of the regular season are dim today, after general manager David Poile rejected the latest offer from agent Rich Winter, who represents both players.

"I slept on it, thought about it and talked to Abe [Capitals owner Abe Pollin]," said Poile. "We decided that at this point we're so far apart that there was no sense in making a counterproposal."

The difference between what the Capitals have offered and what Winter is asking is nearly $1 million. To date, Washington's best offer has been a five-year deal of $900,000 for Pivonka, and $1.2 million for Bondra, who led the NHL in goal scoring last season.

Winter has said "about $3 million" will land both.

"We haven't been able to break the ice at all, and I'd expect it will go far into the coming season before a deal is reached," said Winter. "I'd say the only thing wider apart than we are is the widest point of the Grand Canyon."

Still, Poile and Winter have agreed to talk again tomorrow.

Poile said he wants to sign Bondra, who had 30 goals in 42 games last year, and Pivonka, the team's third-leading scorer, but not at any cost. "Our contracts are guaranteed," he said. "Winter wants us to pay Peter as a 50-plus goal scorer. We can't be sure [off one great season] that that's what he'll be. That's why it's tough."

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