In each of their eight seasons, the Washington Capitals have endured a double-figure winless streak. Only once, however, during that 8-67-5 inaugural record breaker in 1974-75, has such misfortune occurred more than once.
Unless the Capitals beat the New York Rangers Wednesday at Capital Centre, this year will take on one more aspect of that first one, because the current stretch without a victory has reached nine games. Earlier, a 14-game slide cost the jobs of General Manager Max McNab and Coach Gary Green.
The current struggle is particularly frustrating because five of the nine results have been ties, the latest a 4-4 tie against the Rangers Sunday in New York. If any team can be considered a proper tonic for Washington problems, it is the Rangers, who are 1-2-2 against the Capitals this season and 4-8-4 in Capital Centre.
Help is on the way for the Capitals, who obviously need some. For openers, defenseman Rick Green is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday, after missing four games with an aggravated shoulder injury.
Sometime today a couple of players are likely to be called up from Hershey, as the shuttle continues on Rte. 83. General Manager Roger Crozier had hoped to make some moves yesterday, but the Bears still were trying to find a way home from Canada's weather-battered Maritime Provinces, where they dropped four of five games last week while giving up 34 goals.
Struggling or ignored Capitals who face today's moves with concern include defenseman Jay Johnston, benched in the first period Sunday; winger Tony Cassolato, scratched twice last week, and forward Chris Valentine, minus five over the weekend.
Top candidates for promotion are defenseman Timo Blomqvist and centers Wes Jarvis and Tim Tookey, although a couple of other names have been prominent in Hershey recently.