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Capitals continue to make cuts to roster

The Washington Capitals, just days away from opening night in the NHL, tweaked their roster on Thursday by assigning four players to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Assigned to Hershey were defenseman Tyler Sloan, Grant McNeill and Sami Lepisto and goaltender Simeon Varlamov.

Sloan, a 27-year-old native of Calgary, Alberta, was pointless in two preseason affairs with a plus-minus rating of –1. The eight year pro, who was never drafted, played in 56 games for Hershey last season, recording one goal and seven assists.

McNeill, a 25-year-old native of Vermilion, Alberta, skated in two preseason outings, going scoreless and collecting 12 PIM’s. The former third-round selection of the Florida Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft split last season between Hershey and the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, accumulating a combined 278 PIM’s. The six year pro also has three games of NHL experience on his resume, all with the Panthers in the 2003-2004 season. During his short NHL stint, the always willing to drop the gloves McNeill did just that, engaging in a bout with former Capitals’ tough guy Chris Simon.

Lepisto, a 23-year-old native of Espoo, Finalnd, was scoreless and served two PIM’s in three preseason tilts. The former third-round selection of the Capitals in the 2004 NHL entry draft split last season with Hershey and the Capitals, picking up an assist in seven affairs with the Capitals, and notching four goals and 41 assists with Hershey. The swift skating rearguard, regarded as one of the premiere rookie defenseman in the AHL last season, finished third overall in the league with a plus/minus rating of +29.

Varlamov, a 20-year-old native of Sarma, Russia, made one preseason appearance, combining with fellow rookie Michal Neuvirth to shutout the Philadelphia Flyers on Sept. 18. The former first-round selection of the Capitals in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft is entering his first season in North America after appearing in 44 contests with Yaroslavl of the Russian Super League last season.

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