"New Faces of 1982" will be the Washington Capitals' theme tonight when they play the Vancouver Canucks at Capital Centre at 8.

Receiving New Year's greetings yesterday were defenseman Jim McTaggart, left wing Errol Rausse and right wing Tony Cassolato, all of whom were promoted from the Hershey farm club.

Starting the year off in the wrong direction were defenseman Timo Blomqvist and centers Tim Tookey and Wes Jarvis, all of whom were assigned to the Bears.

The multiple moves, along with Thursday's callup of defenseman Tony Camazzola from Brandon, Manitoba, had been promised by General Manager Roger Crozier and Coach Bryan Murray following a nine-game stretch in which the Capitals won only one game and fell to 21st position overall in the NHL.

"I hope this will add a little fire to the pot," Murray said. "I wanted to shake things up, but I also wanted to give a couple of guys a chance--a last chance, possibly--to prove they can play up here."

McTaggart started the season in Washington, but was demoted after seven games when he failed to exhibit the aggressiveness that won him a job here last year. Crozier said he was recalled because "he is Hershey's best on defense."

Rausse, a second-round pick in the 1979 draft, showed promise in 1979-80, scoring six goals in 24 games before he was sent to Hershey for experience. He underwent knee surgery after the season and appeared to lose the speed that was his main asset. He played only five games in Washington last year and was unimpressive.

"Frank Mathers (the Hershey general manager) and Gary Inness (the Hershey coach) both tell me Rausse's skating is back to what it was," Murray said. "He's not scoring a lot of points, but he's playing well, and he played well for me, so I want to see what he does here."

Cassolato, a 48-goal scorer in the American League last year, had one assist in four games with the Capitals in November.

"He gives a good effort every game and right now that's what we're looking for above everything else," Crozier said.

The demotion of Jarvis produced the only controversy among yesterday's moves. Although Jarvis had scored only one goal and 12 assists in 26 games, he had a plus-six rating, best on the team. Crozier said he was sent down because of "inconsistency."

Tookey had scored only two goals in 15 games since his hat trick in the 10-4 victory over Philadelphia Nov. 21. He was a noticeable weak link on the third line, where Gaetan Duchesne and Bobby Gould had been playing fairly well.

Blomqvist was sent to Hershey Dec. 11 and recalled four days later, after Rick Green suffered his shoulder separation. Blomqvist was minus five in the seven games since he came back and appeared hesitant in Wednesday's 6-2 loss at Pittsburgh.

With two centers leaving, Chris Valentine will move from right wing to his natural position at center. Duchesne is doubtful with a bruised right ankle, so Valentine's wingers will be Rausse and Gould. Bobby Carpenter will center Lou Franceschetti and Cassolato, while Ryan Walter, Dennis Maruk and Mike Gartner will be together.

Camazzola and McTaggart will move into a regular defensive rotation, with Randy Holt and Torrie Robertson as the spare forwards.