At the conclusion of yesterday's practice at Fort Dupont, Washington Capitals' Coach Bryan Murray scattered pucks around one end of the ice and ordered center Glen Currie to shoot them into the net, as quickly as possible. Any that missed were added to Currie's chore; he was at it quite awhile.
Since he was recalled from Hershey Jan. 12, Currie has been an outstanding penalty killer, a capable forechecker and a good defensive player. His shooting, however, has been limited.
"Glen used to be a pretty good scorer in junior and last year at Hershey," Murray said. "But this season there have been a lot of two on ones and one on ones where he has backed the defenseman in and either not shot at all or missed the net.
"He's such an unselfish hockey player, I'd like to see him get some reward. It would be a heck of an asset if we could get that line (Currie, Gaetan Duchesne and Bobby Gould) scoring. In practice, they move the puck as well as anybody. They use each other to the fullest and complement each other. If one goes for the puck, another goes for the hole. But except for an occasional goal by Bobby, they're not scoring. In Glen's case, it's mostly his reluctance to shoot."
Gould has 15 goals, three in the last four games. Currie scored his fourth in the third period of Wednesday's 8-4 victory over St. Louis, which also marked his 100th game as a Capital. Duchesne has nine, none in the last nine games.
"When I get the puck and get a scoring chance, I'm a little up-tight," Currie said. "I try to hurry my shot, try to get rid of it. My big problem is that I have to relax, look where I'm shooting instead of just firing away."
Currie was able to relax as a junior at Laval, Quebec. For his first two seasons, he centered Mike Bossy, totaling 105 assists while concentrating on getting the puck to the gifted one. In his final season, with Bossy gone, he blossomed with 63 goals and 82 assists and the Capitals picked him in the third round of the 1978 draft.
A year at Port Huron in the International League was followed by considerable shuttling between Washington and Hershey. An excellent penalty killer with the Capitals two years ago, Currie found himself slipping backward in the organization's esteem and he was surprised when he was summoned to Washington in January.
"I wasn't playing very good in Hershey, but they called me up to kill penalties and told me if I played well, I'd stay," Currie said. "I worked my way onto the third line and I just stuck. I've tried to work hard and I'm happy playing with these guys, but the whole line is in trouble when it comes to scoring.
"It's easy to play in our zone and in the middle of the ice and I have no trouble forechecking. It's just in front of the net. I think about it and I'm searching for the answer. Everyone's trying to help me, but the coach isn't so patient. He just yells, 'Shoot the puck.' "
If Murray is impatient with the shooting aspect, he is delighted with the way Currie and his compatriots kill penalties. Washington presently ranks seventh in the NHL, with 80 percent success. Since Currie came back in January, the figure has been 84.5. Montreal leads the league at 83.1.
Over the last five games, of which Washington has won four, the opposition has not scored a power-play goal in 16 attempts.
Bobby Carpenter missed yesterday's practice, instead spending 2 1/2 hours with Dr. George Malouf, an ophthalmologist. Carpenter had complained of blurred vision and the solution was simple: one eye had become stronger, overpowering the other and necessitating new contacts . . . The Capitals close their longest home stand of the season tonight at 8 against Calgary, which is winless in its last eight road games.