Washington Capitals fans, whose television fare has alternated between little and revolting, can expect to see a minimum of 15 games each of the next five seasons, with all games shown live and in their entirety during prime time.
The Capitals and WDCA-TV-20 approved the five-year contract yesterday and representatives of both were gushing with optimism.
"All playoff games will be shown as well," said the president of the Capitals, Peter O'Malley, "and next year we will have a 39-game package." Twenty-four playoff games is the most possible and coach Tom McVic interjected, "We expect to sweep a couple series."
"We've got the world's most powerful transmitter," said WDCA-TV general manager Milt Grant, "and we're out to become a super independent station. We're very bullish about this. We're buying futures on an improving hockey team.
During their first three seasons, the Capitals' games were shown on WTOP-TV-9, and the telecasts were adulterated by late starts, tape delays and general disinterest on the station's part. WTOP reported far more complaints about preempted shows than comments from hockey fans.
"We've taken a page from the Philadelphia Flyers' and Boston Bruins' book," O'Malley said, "by going to an independent station to avoid conflicts with network presentations. I have no concern about UHF. The station has technical credentials beyond description."
WDCA's 4-million watts promise to send the Capitals' exploits over a number of cable system, as well as wide-angle local reception.
Grant said Channel 20 "may very well" pick up the weekly NHL network games too.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] the two New York teams.
The Capitals will choose the announcing staff, most likely two persons, after next week's NHL meetings in Montreal. Grant deferred to the team's greater expertise, although Channel 9 had previously selected the announcers.
O'Malley said the Capitals games would continue to be broadcast over WTOP-1500, with that station making the decision on radio announcers. Ron Weber has been the voice of the Caps for all three seasons.