At the finish of tonight's 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington goalie Dave Parro broke his stick over the crossbar and threw the shaft into the net. Coach Bryan Murray vented his anger and frustration with words.
"We were totally disorganized, there was an obvious lack of effort and there was a lack of concern about being competitive," Murray said. "There weren't many guys I could point a finger at as giving 100 percent or even partially near 100 percent.
"We're not willing to make any commitment to play the game. The defense didn't look good, but at times there was no effort by some of the forwards to get back. At the start we missed a power-play chance, a heavy check was laid on (Darren) Veitch and from then on everybody was hesitating. Pittsburgh was hitting and our guys absolutely refused to play the body."
Asked whether he felt a shakeup of personnel was necessary, Murray said, "Definitely. There is no question some people have eliminated themselves from playing on this hockey team."
The Penguins, winless in five straight games, shook things up and received immediate dividends. Left wing Bobby Simpson, recalled Tuesday from Erie of the American League, scored twice in his debut with Pittsburgh. He had 25 goals with Atlanta and St. Louis in years past.
Rick MacLeish, obtained Tuesday from Hartford for Russ Anderson, had one assist and a lot of ice time. Paul Mulvey departed today, claimed on waivers by Los Angeles, and General Manager Baz Bastien promised additional moves if a change in work habits did not occur immediately.
While the Penguins were enjoying a revival, the Capitals' roller coaster was finishing 1981 on a plunge. Where Washington closed 1980 with a 31-30-19 record and much hope for the future, it wound up 1981 at a disheartening 23-47-10. The Capitals have won only one of their last nine games and chances of a playoff berth border on the nonexistent.
Two power plays gave the Capitals early scoring chances, but goalie Paul Harrison, in his Civic Arena debut, made the necessary stops before becoming a satisfied spectator. Then, in the last 13 minutes of the first period, Pittsburgh outshot Washington by 15-2 and scored three times to virtually put away the game.
In other NHL games last night, the Rangers defeated the Islanders, 6-4; the Canadiens swept past the Black Hawks, 6-4; the Blues held off the Maple Leafs, 6-4; the Whalers beat the Jets, 6-1, the Bruins defeated the Flames, 4-2, and the Rockies edged the Kings, 3-2. Also in the NHL, the New York Rangers traded forwards Jere Gillis and Dean Talafous to Quebec for Nordique captain Robbie Ftorek.