For Tim Tookey, that Feb. 1 trade to Quebec proved a disaster. He suffered a compound fracture of the hand in his first game for Fredericton, the Nordiques' American Hockey League farm club, and is probably out for the rest of the season.

For Lee Norwood, the same deal, accomplished the day before his 22nd birthday, has been a gift to cherish.

In four games with the Washington Capitals, Norwood has two assists and a plus-seven rating, not once caught on the ice while an opponent scored.

"I'm happy about the plus seven and I'm happy with the way I've been playing," Norwood said. "This is the break I've been looking for and I have to make sure I take advantage of it.

"Bryan Murray coached me at Hershey last year and I had my best season. He knows when to put me in and he gives me confidence. He's a good coach and I was delighted to find out I was coming here."

Norwood learned quickly that he had no future with the Nordiques; Coach Michel Bergeron told him so.

"When I was called up by Quebec, I played in Minnesota and Winnipeg this year and I didn't get much ice time," Norwood said. "I asked the coach if I had a chance to do something and he said no.

"I'm 22 and that's not young for a hockey player any more, so I asked him to send me where I could play. He said he'd talk to the general manager and they worked out the deal. It couldn't have happened at a better time."

Murray thinks Norwood has a future, but he can understand why others tend to give up on the 6-foot, 190-pound, California-born youngster who grew up in Detroit and moved on to become a junior hockey standout in Oshawa, Ontario.

"There's always been a question about his attitude," Murray said. "The tempo thing is the biggest reason. He gives you a casual look and you wonder if he cares. I know him well enough to know he does.

"The thing I noticed from last year to this year is his stronger upper body. He really worked in the summer and he's helped give us the type of play we want in our zone.

"But I expect him to be better than this. He can play at a higher tempo and he can contribute more offensively."

"My defensive game needed work and I've been working on it more," Norwood said. "I let the situation dictate how I play. I don't mind hitting and I can set up plays on the power play, too. If things are running around, I have to play defense and settle them down. If we need more offense, I can move the puck."

One thing Norwood cannot seem to do is obtain a shipment of his style of stick. He has been using some belonging to Bengt Gustafsson and the different lie creates a problem.

"I had to shave them all down and I'd never done that before," Norwood said. "If I could stickhandle, they'd be great."

The Capitals face the Calgary Flames Thursday night (WTOP-1500, 9:30) in the Stampede Corral, one of two NHL rinks, along with the Montreal Forum, where they have never earned a point . . . Greg Theberge was somewhat shocked to learn that Murray plans to try him on the wing. Theberge, a defenseman, never has played a forward position . . . Accompanying the Capitals on today's flight from Washington, via Toronto, was Pekka Rautakallio, the Flames' all-star.