Center Walt McKechnie packed his bags and went home yesterday, declining to become involved in a war of words with the Washington Capitals' management. He couldn't refuse one parting crack, however.

"Maybe they'll bring in a few more psychiatrists and check out the other 18 guys, too," Mckenchnie said after he was ordered not to practice with the team.

General manager Max McNab told McKechnie Friday to take some time off and think about his commitment as a Capital, after coach Tom McVie said the 30-year-old center "can't help our team and can't play."

McKechnie said he had discussed the situation with his agent, Bill Watters, who advised him "to pack up and leave." McKechnie remains on the Capitals' payroll, but he conceded that "I guess I'm history as a Washington Capital. They took my name tag down and put my equipment away. I'm packing right now and I'm heading out. I expect the Capitals to make a trade. I'm pretty sure I'll be picked up."

McNab had emphasized that McKechnie, who had not scored a point in nine games, was not the team's only nonproducer, but was the only Capital showing no "intensity."

"That's his opinion," McKechnie said, "I'm not going to comment on it."

McVie said he considered McKechnie a deelpy troubled man, but McKechnie said, "No, I don't think so at all," and then implied that if he was troubled so were his teammates.

"It's part of the game," McKechnie concluded. "The way the team's going, they have to make changes."

The Capitals had played 11 straight games without a victory before meeting the Buffalo Sabres last night at Capital Centre. They play the Sabres again tonight in Buffalo (WTOP-1500 at 7).

To replace McKechnie, the Capitals called up center Doug Gibson, who recorded three goals in 11 games with Hershey of the American League. Defenseman Rick Green was unable to play in the home-and-home series with Buffalo, because of strained ligaments in his right wrist, and was replaced by Larry Bolonchuk, a Hampton (AHL) farmhand.