For Robert Carpenter Sr., the initial disappointment at his son's being chosen by the Washington Capitals has been succeeded by pride.
As portrayed in yesterday's newspapers, Carpenter reacted to the draft as if his son had either defected to Russia or been entombed in a coal mine. It made meaty reading -- for everyone but the Carpenter family.
"There were lots of misquotes and slanted opinions and dramatizing," Carpenter said on the phone from his home in Peabody, Mass. "I was disappointed, because my heart was set on Hartford. But my disappointment was dramatized beyond reality.That's the part that bothers me.
"I'm in the police department and I'm familiar with the media. There are good ones and bad ones, some pushier than others. I really didn't want to talk to anybody.
"It was a parental thing, a geographical thing. Most parents would feel the way I do. He's just getting out of high school and in Hartford I could keep an eye on him. I guess my hopes were too high. But I've got to let go sometime and maybe this is all for the best."
Carpenter said he felt no ill will toward Washington and, in retrospect, felt good that the Capitals thought enough of Bobby to make the deal with Colorado that pulled him away from Hartford.
"Getting chosen third makes you extremely proud," Carpenter said. "My response was not meant to be negative toward Washington. I have no idea what Washington is all about. I don't know Washington from any other team.
"Hartford is a classy outfit, with classy people. They wanted to take him under any conditions. They were willing to wait and let him go to school without any pressure to go right into the pros.
"I hear nothing but good things about the Washington organization, too. It's one of those things. We just have to reevaluate and go from there. It's like a new game."
Young Carpenter is not yet represented by an agent. He has been advised by the family lawyer and by friends like Bobby Orr, but soon he will be choosing an agent and negotiations will be starting with Peter O'Malley, the Capitals' legal counsel, who, by coincidence, is a Massachusetts native with strong parental feelings and a position as president of the board of regents of the University of Maryland.
Although Carpenter wants his son to play hockey at Providence College for a year or two (the Capitals would still retain rights to Carpenter), it would be no surprise if O'Malley convinced the family that Bobby would be better advised to turn pro and attend summer school. Bobby, unlike underage Canadian youngsters who must play in the NHL or return to junior hockey, could start out under reduced pressure in the minors, at Hershey.
"I'd like to see him go to college, but I'm not going to tell him what to do," Carpenter said. "I don't operate that way. We've got a good rapport and we discuss these things. I do have a different outlook from Bobby.He'd just like to go play hockey any place."