The Washington Capitals' ineffective power play received a boost yesterday when defenseman Greg Theberge was recalled from the Hershey farm club. Heading to Hershey were Lee Norwood and Doug Hicks.

Theberge had five goals and 32 assists in 57 games with the Capitals last season. An offensive-minded defenseman with an excellent shot from the point, he had been demoted because his size -- 5 feet 11, 192 pounds -- made it difficult for him to clear opposing forwards from the slot area.

Since Coach Bryan Murray basically is using only four defensemen -- Rod Langway, Brian Engblom, Darren Veitch and Scott Stevens -- it is feasible for the Capitals to carry someone like Theberge as a power-play specialist. The inadequacies of Washington's extra-man play, nine goals in 45 opportunities, and the inordinate burden placed on Langway and Engblom also make it desirable.

"Langway and Engblom have been getting a lot of ice time, on the power play as well as regular shifts and killing penalties," said General Manager David Poile. "We're looking at Greg Theberge . . . to help on the power play and ease up on the ice time for the other players."

Norwood had a minus-three rating, with one assist, in seven games. He suffered a broken jaw during an altercation outside an M Street restaurant in August and missed most of training camp.

"We probably made a mistake keeping him here," Poile said. "We did it because he played well for the Capitals last year. But with that injury, and missing two-thirds of camp, it was taking him longer to get in the niche you need."

Hicks also was minus three, in four games as an emergency replacement.

Poile said he would make no goaltending changes at the present time, because "Pat Riggin played one of his stronger games on the Island and Dave Parro played his best game against Minnesota. We want to show our confidence in them."