Here in Washington, the Capitals' acquisition of left wing Dave Forbes in the NHL waiver draft was considered worthy of the first sports page. In Boston, Forbes' departure was noted on page three.

That capsulizes Forbes situation very nicely. The Capitals are counting on Forbes to help lead them into the promised land of the playoffs. The Bruins found him a nice guy to have on the bench when an emergency arose.

"I haven't thought much about what's expect of me here," Forbes said yesterday, hours before his first workout as a Capital. "As far as my hockey goes, when I started thinking, I get in trouble. As far as the Washington Capitals are concerned, I'm planning little thinking and much work. I'll let the hockey fall in place and let (coach) Tommy (McVie) see where I fit in his plans.

"Since Tommy's been here coaching, they (the Capitals) seems to keep working. They never stop working, no matter who's on the ice. That was the trademark of our Boston team, too. The Bruins certainly have a lot of talent, but it was hard work that moved the team to a higher level. Hard work can make up for a lot of areas that are lacking."

Forbes made these comments a few minutes before McVie drove by the hotel to deliver his customary indoctrination lecture for new players. In Forbes' case, he could have conserved his energy.

A Bruin for four years, Forbes is regarded as one of the NHL's fastest skaters, but with all that Boston talent he wasn't getting what he considered sufficient ice time.

"I never made any play-me-or-trade me statements," Forbes said, "but I talked with (general manager) Harry (Sinden) about the club's plans for me. At times last season, I really got in the dumps. But it never got to the extent of thinking of quiting. It's like every job. There are low points during the year. But I never seriously considered giving up hockey. I enjoy it too much."

Forbes, 28, used his hockey talent to obtain a bachelor's degree in business at American International College in Springfield, Mass.

"I had graduated from high school and I didn't have any money for college," Forbes recalled. "Besides, I'd had enough of shcool. Then the coach of a minor hockey team in Lachine (Quebec), where I grew up, called and asked me if I'd loke a scholarship in the States. I said, 'Yeah, that's a pretty good joke, what else did you have in mind?'

"It worked out pretty well. My parents warned me not to go down there thinking I'd be a big hockey player. It wasn't a big hockey school. But after I graduated my coach called Jimmy Anderson, who was working for the L.A. Kings, and he offered me a job. Then, during the summer, he got the coaching job at Oklahoma City and brought me with him into the Bruins' organization."

Anderson became the first coach of the Capitals, proving once again what a small hockey world this is.

Forbes left Boston with the best wishes of the Bruins' management, as well as a lot of other folks.

"He should help Washington," said coach Don Cherry. "Forbes is a real good team guy.He's got lots of speed and he could be a threat down that (left) side for them."

"Last sumer, we told him we'd do our best to get him another club," Sinden said. "Obviously, we tried to trade him and couldn't. He'll help Washington."

Forbes said it was "initially tough" to contemplate leaving New England after so many years. A television announcer Monday night did not make in any easier.

"I was watching TV and this guy comes on and says Forbes is leaving and, 'he'll be remembered mostly for his stick swinging with Henry Boucha," Forbes said. "I really needed that."

Forbes was acquitted of assault with a deadly weapon after the hockey fight in which Boucha suffered a severe eye injury, but it had its effect on his career.

"When it's happening to you, it's hard to look at yourself and evaluate it," Forbes said. "But looking back, it had to affect me. You'd have to be superhuman not to have it affect you.

"I was fortunate after the summer was over to put it behind me, to get a whole new start. The fans were bad in some cities, but the encouragement offset it. Even when I was in Minneapolis for the trial, a lot of people went out of their way to tell me they were on my side."