Bondra's agent rejects Caps' $9 million offer


...BTC LANDOVER -- Washington Capitals general manager David Poile said last night that Peter Bondra's agent, Rich Winter, has turned down the club's five-year, $9 million contract offer.

"We've had a lot of negotiations in the last two days and I really felt we were making good progress," said Poile. "We had agreed on almost all of their comparables . . . [other NHL players] who were in the $1.4 million area."

The Capitals' offer was the same as the one signed by Philadelphia right wing John LeClair, a first team All-Star last season.

"We felt it was a fair and substantial offer," Poile said of the deal, which included "a lot" of deferred money. "I thought we were very close, I thought we had a deal and should have had a deal."

As for center Michal Pivonka, Poile said, he thinks the two sides are going to have to come up with new ideas.

Speculation has been that the Caps will not be able to sign one of the players without signing both.

"I think if they had separate agents, we'd have deals with both of them," said Poile, who said he hopes to talk to Bondra and Pivonka one-on-one this week.

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