Winger Bob Sirois, who professed pleasure last week with the contract offered by the Washington Capitals, has joined the ranks of dissatisfied players.
Sirois said today he had agreed orally to terms, then received a written contract that bore little relation to what had been discussed.
"We've got enough good hockey players that we can go from the bottom all the way to the top," Sirois said. "But we won't get there if everybody is unhappy. I can't understand what they're trying to do.
"I like hockey and I like playing in the NHL, so I accepted a little less than I really wanted. They said they weren't drawing and they had money problems, so we agreed on a contract that would be open to renegotiation if I reached certain figures. That way, if the team drew well and things were going good, I'd get more next year.
"Then I get the contract in the mail and it's for one year less than we agreed, there's no renegotiation clause and they stuck in a couple of things that weren't there before. It was just where we were two months ago."
The situation two months ago was such that Sirois seriously considered accepting a bid to play in Switzerland this season. He flew to Zurich to discuss it, but turned down the Swiss after receiving the new offer from the Capitals.
"I like Washington," Sirois said. "I'd rather play there than just about anywhere. But I was offered $75,000 tax free for a year in Switzerland, which is like getting $160,000 over here, which I'm not getting. Since I turned them down, they've hired a player from Poland, so that option is no longer open.
"My contract that just expired was signed in 1974, and it has no option in it, although the club claims I'm covered by an option. If I get a good enough offer, I'm willing to test it in court and see.
"The whole thing really upsets me, because I was so sure things were settled for a while, I had negotiated with Peter O'Malley, but the written contract came from Max McNab, who attached a note that he was glad I'd agreed to it. I called him up and questioned the contract and he said he'd sent out what O'Malley had told him to."
O'Malley has been negotiating all new contracts for the Capitals and his decision to take a three-week vacation while they are unsettled has been annoying to those in the ranks of the unsigned. Besides Sirois, the club has failed to satisfy defensemen Pierre Bouchard, Rick Green, Gord Lane and Pete Scamurra. O'Malley was not availabe to comment today.
Sirois scored 29 goals last season, although he missed the last few weeks because of a ruptured muscle in his left thigh. That was repaired by surgery and Sirois said there were no after effects.
Sirois signed his recently expired contract as a Philadelphia Flyer in 1974. He joined the Capitals in December 1975 in a trade for John Paddock and has been a two-way standout ever since, finishing among the top five in NHL plus-minus statistics in 1978, when he played in the All-Star Game.