As Gary Green and Rollie Boutin remember so well, it has been only a year since the fans at Capital Centre made "Rol-lie, Rol-lie" resound from the rafters. It is because of those memories that Boutin will start in the Capital's goal tonight against the New York Islanders, instead of hot-hand Dave Parro.
Parro, in his fourth NHL game and his first in Capital Centre, stopped 29 Los Angeles shots Thursday night to blank the Kings, 3-0. Before the second period had ended, the folks were making "Par-ro, Par-ro" the latest victory chant. But Parro has started three in a row and, following the visit to Long Island (WDCA-TV 20 at 8 p.m.), the Capitals come home for a Sunday night contest against Hartford.
So yesterday Green tabbed Boutin for his second start of this season, admitting he had erred in last year's handling of Boutin, when that youngster came up from Hershey and started 10 straight games. Boutin was brilliant for a while, winning four of his first five, but the pressure gradually wore him down and Wayne Stephenson regained the No. 1 job.
"I think I made a mistake last year putting too much pressure on a guy just coming up," Green said. "What do you do, go with him and go with him and get as many points as you can before you break him?
"I don't want to wreck a good thing. Once a guy's experienced and can handle that pressure, like (Mike) Palmateer, okay. But there's a lot of mental strain on Davy right now and he has to feel the pressure. Besides, there's competition between Davy and Rollie and I think you're going to see Rollie rise up and play a heck of a game tomorrow. Then I think Davy will be ready for another solid effort Sunday."
Parro was grabbed off Boston's roster by Quebec in the 1979 merger draft and immediately dealt to Washington for Nelson Burton, a crowd-pleasing muckraker who had played junior hockey in Quebec.
"Boston left me unprotected because they didn't think I'd be picked up," Parro said. "Quebec just took me for spite, because they were mad at Boston about something. They never intended to keep me."
General Manager Max McNab does not recall any spiteful feelings, but he admits the deal was sealed the night before the draft.
"It was a midnight deal, it had been prearranged," McNab said. "At that time Quebec was pretty satisfied with its own goaltending and when I got word that they would take Parro, I offered a choice of a couple of players and they settled on Nelson Burton."
When it came time to call up a goaltender from Hershey a year ago, however, it was Boutin, a seventh-round pick the same year, who got the nod.
Parro and Gary Inness were a spectacular goaltending pair last spring as they carried underdog Hershey to the Calder Cup. Although Inness had by far the better goals-against average, Parro won the big games against New Haven in the semifinal, Coach Doug Gibson breaking his rotation to start Parro in the decisive contest on Parro's 23rd birthday.
A few weeks before this season's training camp opened, however, a long-distance call from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, informed McNab that Parro had separated a shoulder during a collision in a softball game. When the Capitals left for the Dagens Nyheter tourney in Stockholm, Parro was just reporting to camp. He was able to play when Hershey's season began, but he was less than 100 percent and started out with a 1-5 record.
Just before Palmateer and Stephenson were hurt, however, Parro started a hot streak. He won four in a row, reduced his outlandish goals-against to a still unimpressive 4.32 and earned first call from Washington.
Now Parromania will be permitted to subside for one night while Boutin gets another chance.
"Whatever comes will come," Parro said. "Now the pressure is on them (management), deciding who to dress."
"After four or five years worrying about goaltending, it's a good problem to have," McNab said.