Roger Crozier, who had been acting general manager of the Washington Capitals since November, was fired yesterday.
No replacement was named. Crozier took the job when former general manager Max McNab was released Nov. 5, 1981.
In a prepared statement, Abe Pollin, the team's owner, said, "We appreciated the job Roger did for the organization, and for stepping in on an interim basis during a difficult time."
Crozier's firing is the first move made by Pollin since Tuesday's announcement that his franchise would continue operation in Washington this season, aided by tax relief from Prince George's County, a rent decrease at Capital Centre, increased ticket sales and four new investors.
Reached at his home in Crofton, Md., Crozier, 40, said the dismissal had caught him by surprise, and that he has no immediate plans.
Earlier this week, Pollin had said that he, Dick Patrick, the new executive vice president, and Crozier would be in charge of running the team this season.
"I do not know how that triangle would have been worked out," Crozier said. "I don't know what Dick Patrick's involvement will be."
Pollin said at the time no decision on Crozier's status had been reached.
Pollin did not return phone calls yesterday. Patrick also was not available for comment.
Crozier, who had been the team's assistant general manager, moved up when Pollin fired McNab and Coach Gary Green after the Capitals' 1-11 start last season. At that time Crozier was named acting general manager and coach, but a week later he hired Bryan Murray to coach the team.
"I don't think this will put Bryan's situation in jeopardy," Crozier said. "I helped build a helluva hockey club for them and that's the most important thing."
Several days ago, Crozier said he was unsure how the chain of command would work this season, but indicated he hoped to have more control over hockey matters.
"That's the way I like to work--being in charge and control," Crozier said yesterday. "I had thought that's how it would work out."
Crozier said Pollin did not "interfere" with the running of the team, but did overrule a deal last November that would have gotten Washington a defenseman in exchange for goalie Mike Palmateer.
Several weeks later, Pollin wanted Crozier to go ahead with the trade, but the team involved no longer was interested.
"He (Pollin) was the boss and wouldn't agree with everything you try to do," Crozier said. "I would never consider making a deal with a 'name' player without thrashing it out with him first."
Crozier confirmed he was not given a pay raise when he became general manager. No assistant general manager was hired to replace him.
"I had always been taught to be an organizational man. I felt Abe was in a bind, and in one financially as well, when I took the job," he said. "I assumed justice would be served, and that there would be a reward for me later. That's why I didn't press the money end of it at the time."
Crozier said he did not think his dismissal would have a large effect on the players.
"When I played, I just took pride in my work, played as always and left it at that," he said. "I think our players will do the same. I had looked forward to a successful team this season. Now I will have to watch the success from outside."
Crozier joined the Capitals as a goalie in 1976, and a year later was moved to the front office. He had played 518 games in 14 NHL seasons--seven in Detroit, six in Buffalo and one with Washington, with a cumulative goals-against average of 3.04.
Since taking over last November, Crozier traded center Tim Tookey to Quebec for defenseman Lee Norwood; brought defenseman Darren Veitch, center Glen Currie and left wing Torrie Robertson to Washington from the Capitals' Hershey farm club and traded defenseman Pat Ribble to Calgary for right wing Bob Gould.
Crozier also acquired goalie Pat Riggin and right wing Ken Houston from the Flames and drafted defenseman Scott Stevens last June.