When the Washington Capitals failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, area hockey fans did not expect a complete shutdown of viewing pleasure. That's what has happened, however, as both WDCA-TV, Channel 20, and WBFF-TV, Channel 45, have declined to televise playoff action.
In the case of Channel 20, the deciming that would be affected just as a promotional campaign is getting under way. "All That Glitters," a Norman Lear serial, is expected to attract large audiences nightly at 11 p.m. beginning May 2.
"We like hockey, although at this point in time hockey is not attracting the largest TV audience in Washington," said general manager - Milt Grant. "The total rating numbers for the regular-season games were not large, but certainly the Stanley Cup would do far better."
Channel 20 televised the playoffs last year and the weekly Monday night games this season. The decision to drop the Stanley Cup does not effect ongoing negotiations over future telecasts of the Capitals, homeless after three seasons on WTOP-TV 9.
"We are very strongly considering that," Grant said. "We would like a major-league sport that we could promote. There's no question that sports attract new viewers."
Bob Casey, NHL publicity director, said there was a "possibility" that another area station might carry the final series.
My longitime contention tat the Philadelphia Flyers' accent on intimidation has reduced the skill factor at all levels of hockey received some support recently from the Flyers' own backyard.
Ron Legault, coach of the Willingboro (N.J.) Warriors, took his midget (ages 15-16) team to LePrairie. Quebec, for a tournament and was quoted at length on the subject by the Montreal Sunday Express.
"All our kids watch the Flyers on TV and, let's face it, the Flyers play dirty," Legault said. "Pretty soon our kids try it too and I've got a dirty team on my hands. To give you an idea what it's like, we've had 1,400 minutes in penalties in 47 games.
"We try to talk to them and tell them we want clean hockey, but we've had five or six brawls. Everybody in our area plays that style because they all watch the Flyers. Pretty soon it gets out of hand.
"We don't play our positions.I tell them something in practice and they'll do it for a while, but then they lapse back to the way they've seen the Flyers do it on TV and they'll be running all over the rink."