The Washington Capitals will harness up defenseman Robert Picard and left wing Ace Bailey to reach full 19-man strength for tonight's 7:30 battle with the Colorado Rockies at Capital Centre.
Picard, who missed two games because of a broken hamate bone in his right hand, will be wearing a sleeve-type harness that offers maximum protection to the back of the hand.
Bailey, idle since Dec. 7 with a stretched ligament in his right knee, will be skating with a knee brace. He is the numerical replacement for center Ron Lalonde, who suffered a separated right shoulder in Detroit Sunday and will be out four to six weeks.
"Ace will help the left side, particularly moving the puck, where we've had some problems," said Washington general manager Max McNab.
The Rockies are winless in their last six games and, despite right wing Wilf Palement's. All-Star status, coach Pat Kelly has been disenchanted with his 47-point scorcer.
"They tell me he's a great hockey player, but he hasn't shown me much," Kelly said the other day. "He's not sharp, he's throwing the puck away, throwing passes away. Maybe he's just not bearing down. But to me he's just an average hockey player."
One Colorado player nobody is demeaning is defenseman Barry Beck. For one thing, most people would fear the consequences. Beck is 6-3, 215 pounds, talented and mean.
I saw Beck play three junior games last winter and only two players dared to throw a legitimate check at him. In each case, Beck brought up his stick and cracked them on the shoulder.
Beck whipped Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren in an early season fight and ever since opponents have steered away from his area. As a result, he has acquired only 47 penalty minutes. And, although not a goal scorer as a junior, he has hit for 15 in the NHL.