The Washington Capitals eased the great goalie glut a bit yesterday when they returned Rolie Boutin to Hershey of the American Hockey League. wBoutin had played two games for Wahington, losing road contests to Calgary, 6-0, and to the New York Islanders, 6-4.
Dave Parro, called up from Hershey Jan. 5, one day before Boutin, will remain with Washington. In six games, of which he has won three, Parro has compiled a superb 2.33 goals-against average.
Mike Palmateer and Wayne Stephenson, whose injuries brought Boutin and Parro to the rescue, are healthy once again. Palmateer is likely to start Saturday when Buffalo visits Capital Centre; Stephenson apparently must wait for Parro to falter before he returns to regular duty.
Boutin is not asured regular work in Hershey, either. Bart Hunter, called up from Port Huron as the dominoes fell in early January, has posted a 5-1-1 record, while Gary Inness has won his only start. Although Hunter yielded four goals and Inness five in a 9-2 loss at New Brunswick Wednesday, six of the goals came on power plays as Hershey was ravaged by penalties.
While the goalie situation has occupied center stage with the Capitals, the team has fallen into a severe case of the goaldrums at the other end of the rink. In its last 10 games, during which it owns a 3-7 record, Washington has scored only 19 goals.
At practice yesterday, Coach Gary Green emphasized shooting, often at empty nets, and at the conclusion of practice directed each player to shoot 10 pucks into the vacated nets before departing.
"We're in a midseason slump and we seem to be in it together, as a team," Green said. "We've had a slump offensively the last six games, but the team worked exceptionally hard in all six. Usually, in this sitaution, you can spot a letdown, but I'm happy with the team as far as hard work goes."
A portion of the practice was devoted to rebound drills, an offensive phase in which the team has been noticeably lacking in recent games.
Center Dennis Maruk, who was struck in the right foot by a shot on Long Island Saturday, was found yesterday to have a hairline fracture of the big toe. It is not expected to keep him from playing, however . . . Defenseman Yvon Labre, suffering from a strained knee ligament, should be ready Saturday. However, with the team two players over strength, he may not play . . . Defenseman Pierre Bouchard is expected to return Jan. 29, when Vancouver visits Capital Centre.