Three players with much to prove, both to Washington Capitals management and to themselves, exhibited a little extra effort yesterday to share land-speed honors in the mile run that annually faces off the hockey club's training campaign.
Right wing Craig Patrick and centers Rick Bragnalo and Bob Dudley each clocked 5 minutes 5 seconds under the broiling sun in Hershey Stadium.
Thirty-seven among the field of 53 starters achieved Coach Tom McVie's designated target of 5:40. The rest can expect extra work beyond the two-a-day practice sessions.
Even a run around a track is not 100 percent safe for these injury-prone Capitals, however. Rookie left wing Paul Mulvey, a second-round draft choice, was forced to drop out when his left knee buckled just before the half-mile mark.
Mulvey had bruised the knee while scrimmaging with a junior team last week. The knee was iced down last night and will be examined today, but the injury was not considered serious.
Swedes Rolf Edberg, 5:08, and Leif Svensson, 5:21, were among the faster finishers. A noteworthy time was the 5:37 of Bob Girard, who had managed only 7:20 in his first effort this summer.
For Patrick, things were beginning as they did last year when he led all runners with 5 minutes flat. He hopes there is little else to revive memories, however.
After scoring three goals in four exhibition games, Patrick suffered a bruised right Achilles tendon in an exhibition at London, Ontario. In 44 regular-season games, he managed only one goal, then suffered strained ligaments in his right knee after being demoted to the Hershey Bears. A month ago, he pulled a calf muscle in his right leg and had not run again before yesterday.
"I was in good shape when I stopped running," Patrick said, "and I skated last week without any problems. The knee feels fine. The only time it bothers me is when I ride a bicycle, so I don't ride."
Patrick said he was trying to forget the previous season, because "you have to. You can't think about it. I can't believe it happened. It's good I left Washington when I did. I'd lost all my confidence. But I got it back at Hershey (five goals in 27 games) and I feel I belong in Washington this year."
Bragnalo's season, just as forgettable, developed in an opposite vein. He started at Hershey, then was called up Jan. 1 and finished the season in Bragnalo said. "There are a lot of good hockey players here. You do your best, you hope it's good enough and if it isn't, well . . . I hope it is, though."
Dudley, 22-year-old systems engineering graduate of Boston University, was hampered by a back injury a year ago. Offered a position at Port Huron, but not pro contract, he opted for a job with Pratt and Whitney in Montreal.
"I want to take one more shot at pro hockey," Dudley said. "I was afraid before that if I bounced around in the minors a couple of years and tried to get a job, it would look bad to be out of school that long with no work experience.
"Now, though, I'm confident I can find a good job if hockey doesn't work out. I had to see if I could make it, though. I knew if I didn't do it this year, I'd never do it."
Slowest time was Eddy Godin's 6:31 . . . The Sirois Brothers, Bob and Rick, posted 6:06 and 6:28, respectively . . . Skipping the run were Jack Lynch, recuperating from knee surgery; Pete Scamurra, who underwent a leg operation during the summer, and Ryan Walter, who had knee surgery on Wednesday, but watched while leaning on a crutch.
Washington, netting only two goals in 44 games.
"This is going to be a tough camp,"