The Washington Capitals visit Philadelphia tonight and coach Tom McVie is hoping to experience just one-half of the fun that brightened his stay here.
On the bus taking the team from Capital Centre to National Airport Thursday night, defenseman Bryan Watson wheedled McVie's permission to pass out the meal-money envelope. Watson's antics as paymaster - "first the stars . . . Guy Charron . . ." - engulfed his teammates in laughter.
McVie sat straight-faced, mumbling, "I wish this team would win a game once in a while so I'd have something to laugh at."
Surprise. On Friday night the Capitals blew the Cleveland Barons aside, 4-1, behind two Charron goals for their 10th victory of the season. If McVie wasn't laughing, he was certainly smiling after a second straight runaway in remote Richfield Coliseum, where the Capitals ended that 20-game winless in December.
The victory was the climax of an eventful day for McVie, who awoke to find a straitjacket full of memories in a Cleveland Plain Dealer column written by old pal Dan Coughlin.
It was headlined "Hockey War Tales" and described some of McVie's more memorable Western Hockey League adventures. There was the time he played Tarzan in a Los Angeles restaurant, donning his bathing suit, wrapping a beach towel around his neck and dancing barefooted through the patrons' meals. And the night in Calgary when McVie and fellow kook Con Madigan destroyed a Chinese restaurant - literally.
As he finished reading, McVie heard a knock at his hotel door and a voice screaming for entry. Looking through the peephole, McVie saw a giant, who by now was saying, "I'm Larry Holmes, I'm the No. 4 heavyweight, and if you don't let me in, I'll break the door down."
"No way," McVie screamed back, "and I'm not letting you in either, Coughlin."
He had guessed right. Holmes and Coughlin departed, laughing, but not as violently as McVie.
The Capitals are still working on a plan to win a game in Philadelphia, where they have lost all seven, by a total score of 40-12.
The Flyers are hurting physically, with Paul Holmgren out with fractured vertebrae and Bobby Clarke nursing a broken left thumb. It was no break for the Capitals, however, when the Flyers' game at Boston was postponed yesterday, leaving Philadelphia well rested instead of weary from a tough battle.