Defenseman Brian Engblom's vision is normal and he has received permission to resume skating with the Washington Capitals. Whether Engblom will play in Saturday's game on Long Island, however, will depend on his workouts today and Friday.

"Unless there's some physical (conditioning) problem, Brian probably will play Saturday," General Manager David Poile said yesterday. "But I want to see what he thinks after he's practiced a couple of days. Basically, he's been on his back five days."

Engblom was struck over the left eye by a puck during the 5-3 loss March 2 to Edmonton and has missed the last three games. Remarkably, the Capitals have won all three, just as they won three in a row after Engblom cracked a rib in December.

"A year ago this team could not have won with all these injuries," said Poile. "But there's a different attitude now and it has carried over to the players like (Chris) Valentine, (Paul) MacKinnon and (Doug) Hicks, who have come up and filled in very well.

"The work effort has been just unbelievable. These guys come to play every night."

Valentine, who has averaged a point a game in 14 appearances with the Capitals, will remain with them for the rest of the season.

"Having Chris here gives (Coach) Bryan (Murray) another option," Poile said. "This doesn't mean Chris will dress for every game, but he'll be available for power-play duty, as a specialist, against certain teams where Bryan thinks he will be useful."

Defenseman Doug Hicks, who filled in for suspended Randy Holt in Tuesday's 5-4 victory at New Jersey, was returned to Hershey yesterday. Defenseman Eric Calder, who had limited duty in Saturday's 4-3 triumph over Philadelphia, was sent back to the Cornwall, Ontario, junior team.

Defenseman Scott Stevens, idled by a hyperextension of his right elbow, and right wing Craig Laughlin, out with a separated right shoulder, will be examined today and Poile is hopeful they will receive clearance to play Saturday.

Center Bob Carpenter had a new fiberglass cast fitted to his left wrist yesterday. A bone in his wrist was cracked during the Philadelphia game.

Originally fitted with a fiberglass cast, Carpenter discarded it because it was digging into the damaged area. For the New Jersey game, in which he scored two goals, including the game winner, he wore a makeshift cast with padding taped over the cracked bone.