Tom McVie did not receive a telephone call from Max McNab Saturday night. The Capitals' coach and general manager usually discuss the night's activity before seeking slumber, but McNab, scouting collegians in the Midwest, apparently learned of the Capitals' 7-2 defeat in Montreal and decided to postpone the dissection.

"I guess he didn't want to hear me," McVie surmised. "After a game like that. I always put everything negative. I always tend to think we're back where we started."

Indeed, following the rout, McVie had noted."Every time I think I'm making some headway with my hockey club I run into something like this. It brings me down to earth in a hurry."

In an effort to regroup before Monday night's game with the Detroit Red Wings, McVie scheduled a 1:30 p.m. practice here today. When several players hinted that Sunday should be a day of rest, he commented, "What do they think this is, a country club?"

If they do, they have different ideas of country club living from normal folks. After playing Saturday night, the players rose today at 5:30 a.m., were bused to the Montreal Airport and bounced through a one-stop, breakfast less flight that got them here in time to sit around a hotel lobby awaiting transportation to yet another rink.

The bus scheduled to meet the team at Detroit Airport was a no-show, the bus company was not answering its phone and McVie said, during the taxi ride into town, "If we have any luck at all, it's bad."

Reflecting on the defeat in Montreal, McVie said, "The best thing that happened in Montreal was the bus driver playing country-western music on the way to the airport. In fact, it was the only good thing.The guy at customs asked me if I acquired anyting in Montreal. I just looked at him awhile and then said, 'No, nothing at all.'"

A woman reporter is accompanying the team to prepare a profile on McVie. She asked him if he planned to hire an assistant coach and he replied, "You can't have the job. Just because you saw one game doesn't mean you're qualified." As an aside, he added, "It doesn't mean she's not, either."

McVie purchased a French language newspaper today and claimed that since all he read were hockey summaries, the language presented no problem.

"Whenever I ask Bob Sirois what something means, he always makes something up, so I don't bother anymore," McVie said.

Sirois obviously was not feeling inventive when a reporter asked him the meaning of ecrase in a headline pertaining to the Capitals' loss.

"Oh, no," Sirois said, "that means like when you throw a cigarette away and step on it."

That was about how the Capitals felt after trying in vain to stp the unstoppable.

"You can't set up a defense and stay in it, because they're moving all the time," checking specialist Tony White said of the Canadiens. "You have to go after them, and it's not easy."

"Their defensemen don't stay at the blue line," said Bernie Wolfe, who yielded four goals while playing 35 minutes in McVie's alternating-goalie plan. "They just keep coming in at you and they shoot from close range."

Ace Bailey had the last word. The walked up to McVie, who was scranning a score sheet in the airport, and said, "You're a sadist to read that thing again today."

Center Ron Lalonde, idle Saturday by a bruised ankle, is expected to face the Red Wings . . . Defenseman Terry Harper is healthy, so Detroit sent Rick Lapointe to Kansas City of the Central League . . . McVie had Wolfe and Ron Low room together for the first time in Montreal, so they could discuss the alternating-goaltender setup. Although McVie disclaimed any thought of a repeat, the goalies are roommates here, too.