Defenseman Robert Picard came to the Washington Capital training camp today, signed a standard NHL player contract, and skated in preparation for what coach Tom McVie promised would be "two days of hell" on Monday and Tuesday.
"A lot of things been going around," Picard said. "After I think - I am unable to sleep for the last two weeks - I think the best thing in my life is to go back where I belong to. The best thing I could do is to play for the Washington Capitals and try to help them with the Stanley Cup."
Picard signed an agreement with the Capitals on june 13, then signed a contract with the Quebee Nordiques of the would Hockey Association on Sept.12. The WHA Friday refused to approve the Nordiques' refused to approve the Nordiques' document, leaving Picard virtually no choice butt
Although Guy Bertrand, Picard's lawyer, planned to attempt to have the capitals' agreement nullified by the courts. Picard decided he had endred enough sleepless nights and ufavourable publicity in the Montreal Media.
After the WHA decision was announced. Picard phoned Tom Lapointe , a writer for Montreal Matin and a longtime friend. Lapointe contacted Washington's general manager McNab on Picards behalf and accompanied Picard, Bertrand and Picard's father, Gilles, on a flight to nearby Harrisburg this morning.
McNab and Peter o'Malley, president of the Capitals, met with the Picards and Bertrand during the day and picard announced his decision shortly after the end of an intrasquard game at the Hersheypark Arena. He then skated in preparation for four workouts on Monday.
"In any other camp he'd be seven days behind, but the way we're been working, he's 14 days behind," McVie said. "I got plans for him to be on the ice all the shifts four time each of the next two days.He's going to spend two days of hell, he can be sure of that. Then he ought to be pretty near read to go.
I'm very happy that he's here. All I want todo is get him on the ice because he can help us win. And that's all I'm interested in."
Picard laughted at McVie's working schedule and quipped. "The only reason I stayed away was so I didn't have to run the mile."
Picard, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, said he had run a mile in 5:45, just five seconds over McVie's requirement. He also folloed the Capitals' offseason conditioning program much of the summer and skated three days at the Nordique training camp, where he was involved in two fights with center Bob Fitchner.
O'Malley introduced Picard by saying, "I would like to bring to your attention the fact that the Washington Capitals once again have the outstanding junior defenseman to come out of Canada ready to turn over to the tender mercies of Tom McVie.
"Robert will be in the Washington Capitals' organization for many years to come and it is a virtual certainly that he will play his entire career with the Washington Capitals' organization."
O'Malley passed off the dual signing as a "normal event with a popular and charismatic athlete in today's society. He is most welcome here."
The intrasquard game increased Picard's welcome as the Washington defense, weary from back-to-back exhibition defeats and an absurd travel schedule, permitted 12 goals. Tom Rowe, Mike Marson and Archie Henderson each scored two goals in what for many of the Capitals' 53 players was a last bid for a hurrah.