Jack Lynch is an umemployed free agent after fives years with the Washington Capitals. Each morning the skates at Benfield Pines ice rink in Severna Park, Md., then returns to his Crofton home to wait for phone calls from National Hockey League clubs in need of an experienced defenseman.

"The phone isn't ringing off the hook," Lynch said today. "I can't believe some of these teams are willing to go with what they've got. I played on the worst team in NHL history and survived, so my attitude must be okay. I can't see not getting a chance somewhere unless there's something I don't know."

Lynch, 27, was sent to Hershey by the Capitals early this month. However, after playing three games, he asked that he be made available to other NHL clubs via the waiver route. General Manager Max McNab obliged, making Lynch available for $100, but there were no claims. So the Capitals exercised an option in Lynch's two-year contract and paid him off on a percentage basis.

"I requested the waivers, but I didn't request being paid off," Lynch said. "They just gave me that new contract in August, why would they cut me loose? Not being able to play anywhere, I can't maintain my skills for long. If somebody doesn't call soon, I may have to pack it in. This is a bad time, because most teams have played only five or six games and are still evaluating what they've got."

About the only words of encouragement by Lynch came from former Washington coach Tom McVie, now at Winnipeg.

"Tom McVie called and reassumed me that I could play in the league," Lynch said. "He called as a friend, because he doesn't have an opening, but he has been a friend for a long time and he helped me to play better in this league."