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Caps not renewing Corvo, Walker and Morrison

by John McGourty
The Washington Capitals will not be renewing the contracts of defenseman Joe Corvo and forwards Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker, a team official confirmed Tuesday. The official would not comment on a report in the Washington Post that the team will also not renew the contract of goalie Jose Theodore, who is a nominee for the 2010 Bill Masterton Trophy.

Morrison, 34, has played 12 NHL seasons with New Jersey, Vancouver, Anaheim, Dallas and Washington and has 187 goals and 360 assists for 547 points in 829 games. The 1997 Hobey Baker Award winner signed a free-agent contract with the Capitals last July 10 and scored 12 goals and 30 assists for 42 points in 74 games.

Morrison had 23 points, including 9 goals, through the first 29 games but slowed thereafter. He was a healthy scratch twice in March and missed six of the final eight regular-season games with a leg injury. He had one assist in five Stanley Cup Playoff games and was a healthy scratch twice in the Caps' first-round upset loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

"We talked to Brendan last week," McPhee told the Washington Post. "He's a first-class kid, but we aren't going to renew him."

Corvo, 32, has played seven NHL seasons with Los Angeles, Ottawa, Carolina and Washington. He has 68 goals and 150 assists for 218 points in 486 games. The Capitals traded Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala and a second-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft to Carolina on March 3 to add Corvo's power-play and overall offensive skills. He had 2 goals and 4 assists and was minus-4 in 18 regular-season games for Washington. Corvo had 1 goal and 1 assist and was minus-2 in the seven-game, first-round playoff loss to Montreal.

Walker, 36, also joined the Capitals at the trade deadline when Washington gave the Hurricanes their seventh-round pick in this year's draft. Walker has played 15 NHL seasons with 151 goals and 246 assists for 397 points in 829 games. He achieved his career highlight a year ago when he scored in overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, eliminating the Boston Bruins.

Walker had shoulder surgery in January and injured his knee in March. He had been a healthy scratch in four of the 11 Capitals games before the knee injury. Walker had 2 goals and 1 assist in nine regular-season games for the Capitals and did not dress for the first six games against Montreal. He was held without a point in the finale.

Theodore, the 2002 Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, signed as a free agent with the Capitals in 2008 after playing 11 seasons with Montreal and Colorado. In 13 NHL seasons, Theodore, 33, is 245-221-30-22 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. He was bothered by back spasms early in the season but went on to play 47 games with a 30-7-7 record and a 2.81 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Theodore was the goaltender in the Caps' 3-2 loss to Montreal in Game 1, then was lifted after seven minutes in Game 2 when he gave up two goals. He did not return in the series.

The team official said McPhee has not yet had a chance to talk with Theodore about the decision.

McPhee told the Post that he has had "some discussion" with the agent for free-agent center Eric Belanger, 32, who had 15 goals and 41 points in 77 games this season. Belanger, acquired from the Minnesota Wild at the trading deadline for this year's second-round draft pick, had 2 goals and 6 points in 17 regular-season games and added an assist in seven playoff games.

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