There were no "Yahoos" or expressions of thanks from defenseman Jack Lynch yesterday after the Washington Capitals chose Canada's Thanksgiving Day to assign him to their Hershey farm club. But Lynch, who reacted with a "Yahoo" when he received a new two-year contract in August, vowed that he would be back at Capital Centre.
"Maybe I deserve more than Hershey after five years here, but if they want me to go down there, then I'll go down there," Lynch said. "I've had Washington Capitals stamped on my left cheek and for a long time now my life has been live, die, eat, drink Washington Capitals.
"I knew there was a possibility that this would happen, since they've had nine defensemen since last spring and it's been pretty obvious five of them were set. But I was hoping it wouldn't happen. Now that it has, I'm determined to go down there and be the best damn defenseman in Hershey and they'll have to call me back."
That is what happened last year when Lynch, recovering from a serious knee operation, was forced to spend considerable time in Hershey. He had a hat trick against Nova Scotia, was brought back here and played extremely well against Montreal and Buffalo, among others.
In an ordinary year, the Capitals would be forced to place Lynch on waivers and he undoubtedly would be claimed by defense-poor teams like Winnipeg, St. Louis and Edmonton.Since this is an expansion year, however, such waivers are not in effect.
"I would have hoped they'd trade for me if they didn't want me," Lynch said. "Maybe they couldn't. Maybe some feel I'm still damaged goods. But I think I proved myself last year. I played as well as I've ever played."
The Capitals still have eight defensemen on a 26-man roster. Trade rumors abound, particularly concerning Gord Lane and the St. Louis Blues.
Also, management is concerned by the ineffectiveness of several of those "set" backliners during exhibition play. Lynch will not be passed along for a medium draft choice unless General Manager Max McNab is convinced he will not be needed in the playoff drive.
Also sent to Hershey were wingers Tim Coulis and Mark Lofthouse. Both enjoyed some flashy moments during exhibition assignments, but neither was able to play consistently.
Hershey has 22 players in its camp and it is likely that several will be assigned to International League teams as others filter down from Washington. The Capitals are not expected to begin the season with more than 21.
Defenseman Kevin McCloskey, the Capitol Boys product with designs of becoming a hometown Capital, was returned to Fort Wayne of the IHL yesterday, at the same time Lynch was nudged down the ladder.