A couple of desirable ingredients will be missing tonight when the Washington Capitals visit Springfield, Mass., for an exhibition against the Hartford Whalers.
Foremost in absentia will be 51-year-old Gordie Howe, who has been suffering with dizzy spells. While he has continued to work out with the Whalers, Howe has been withheld from exhibitions. He said he would await the start of the regular season before deciding whether it is finally time to hang up his skates.
Also deleted on this visit is the possibility of overtime.When the Whalers were in the World Hockey Association, they utilized extra time to win a 5-4 exhibition from the Capitals and they own a 3-0 record against Washington. So far this year, both of Hartford's exhibitions have ended in ties.
A recent vote within the National Hockey League rules committee defeated overtime, but only because the Quebec and Edmonton representatives were absent. Had they cast their votes in favor, as the old WHA teams preferred, the issue would have gone on to the board of governors.
Right wing Mike Gartner, the Capitals' No. 1 draft choice, will make his debut tonight on a line with Ryan Walter and Errol Rausse.
With five games scheduled in the next six nights, the Capitals plan to rest several regulars tonight, including Guy Charron, Dennis Maruk, Rick Green and Leif Svensson.
Additionally, injuries have idled Bengt-Ake Gustafsson, bruised thumb; Bob Girard, groin pull; Bob Sirois and Pete Scamurra, pulled leg muscles, and Antero Lehtonen, broken finger.
Only Lehtonen, who cannot play for two weeks, is considered serious.
The Capital rookies dropped a 4-2 decision to the Flyer rookies yesterday in Philadelphia. Glen Currie and Lou Franceschetti scored for Washington. Center Serge Boisvert was sent back to Sherbrooke, where he will play as an over-age junior, reducing the squad to 52.