The Washington Capitals' preparations for season No. 4 are so advanced that coach Tom McVie is worried about a letdown when it comes time to play for keeps Oct. 14. The entent of McVie's concern can be gauged by the fact that he is considering giving the team a day off.

"I've never seen a club this far ahead at this stage," McVie said after the second of two vigorous sessions yesterday at Fort Dupont. "Maybe we're too far ahead. It's like bringing a prize fighter along. You have to let up sometime before the big fight.

"We got more done today than in any day since I've come here. The guys were so alert and sharp in those two workouts I wish we'd had a game. I don't know what it was, but something turned everybody on."

Watching disconsolately was left wing Craig Patrick, who must stay off his sprained right ankle until at least Wednesday. Patrick, who had a starting job cinched before his injury, managed only a week smile after fine efforts by left wings Tony White and Bob Sirois prompted Bryan Watson to joke. "I wonder whether some guys will get back in the lineup."

Roger Crozier made his first appearance of the fall in a goaltending role with the Capitals, although he had worked in the nets at Hershey last week during the team's three-game exhibition trip.

"I feel good," Crozier said. "I'll be ready when called upon."

Center Guy Charron demonstrated that his left knee is feeling fine by dancing along the ice on his left leg after his pass set up Mark Lofthouse for an easy goal.

Left wing Mike Marson was notified by the NHL that he had received an automatic $250 fine for his actions in Saturday's exhibition against Detroit and that the case was being reviewed pending possible further disciplinary action.

Negotiations with the New York Rangers in the Don Awrey compensation case stalled while the Rangers tried to find out what happened to what they considered a verbal agreement with Pittsburgh, which subsequently dealt Awrey's right to Washington for Bob Paradise.