While chants of "Ber-nie" and "Go Crow" have resounded throught Capital centre, a guy named Ron Low has been quitely contributing some vital statistics to the revitalization of the Washington Capital.
When Low starts in the Capital's nets todayat 1:30 at Capitol Center against the Buffalo Sabres he will be trying to extend a personal streak of four home-ice victories. low has earned credit for 14 of Washington's 20 triumphs this season and, in his last appearance against the Sabres, on Jan. 19 in Buffalo, contributed 32 saves to a stunning 4-2 Capital upset.
Coach Tom McVie is on record as favouring a one-goalie system to reduce the decision-making burden that faces a hockey coach. Now, with Roger Crozier joining Low and Bernie Wolfe on the impressieve side, McVie finds himself third-guessing.
"It takes a lot of spinning in your mind before you make a decision," McVie said,"and when you do make up your mind, a guy just has to give up one goal and you tell yourself you made the wrong move."
That was no concern for McVie Friday, as Crozier blocked 20 shots in 40 minutes and Low stopped nine in the last 20 for a 5-0 sutout of the Colorado Rockies.
"If they're all playing good, it's a nice problem to have," McVie conceded.
Since the 35-year-old Crozier played 5 1/2 seasons in Buffalo before entering temporary retirement in December. 1975, McVie gave him a crack at the Sabres today.
"He said he was a little weary," McVie reported. "He said, 'It's entirely up to you, but I'd rather wait and go all the way next time.' So he can take tommorrow off and rewind, and we'll give him a 60-minute shot in one of our remaining home games:"
Crozier was deprived of his 31st career shutout by leaving after 40 minutes Friday. A goalie must go the route to earn his zero. The game marked Crozier's second appearance as Capital, since he had yielded two goals while stopping 29 shots in the first 49 minutes of Sunday's 3-3 tie, at Detroit.
McVie halted practice at the half way mark yesterday at Fort Dupont, prescribing some stops and starts alter yelling, "You guys seem to think we won the Stanely Cup last night."
The remainder of the practice was brisk and McVie said afterward, "All we did was win a hockey game last night. I guess they thought things would change after a win. I've told them things aren't going to change. Tommorrow we have to work as hard as we did last night and cut down on our mistakes. If we make the errors we got away with against Colorado, you can be sure Buffalo will capitalize on them."
Assistant trainer Keith Parker joined in the preparation for Buffalo's visit by wearing a Sabres tee-shirt.
You have to keep them thinking," Parker said. "The season isn't over yet."
Captain Yvon Labre was absent from the workout, instead receiving treatment at Capitol Centre for his sprained ankle.
"He's been playing hurt," McVie said, "But he's been going like an SOB. I want him to use all his energy in the game."
The Capitals will need maximum execution today. Buffalo is tied with Boston for first place in the Adams Division and that No. 1 spot guarantees immunity from the best-of-three Russian-roulette opener to the Stanley Cup playoffs.