Gaylord Perry has found a new home (see below), and Ryan Walter has made himself at home. Showing the kind of attachment to Montreal that he did to Washington before the Capitals reluctantly gave him up in the trade of 1982, Walter spent just four days as an NHL free agent at July 1 expiration of contract before signing with the Canadiens for three years.
Walter, predecessor to Rod Langway as Capitals' captain, did his part trying to make more nearly equal the four-for-two deal that brought Langway here. Playing left wing, he played in all 80 regular-season games and scored 29 goals, 46 assists for the Canadiens; his 75 points trailed team leader Guy Lafleur, the right wing, by one.
Serge Savard, who took over as Canadiens managing director three months ago, did not disclose financial terms but said, "Ryan made a lot of sacrifices to play in Montreal again next season. There's no question that because of the tough tax situation in Canada, and especially in Quebec, he would have made more money playing in any other place.
"I don't think Ryan was in a very healthy situation last season. He scored 20 goals by the All-Star break but after that he just didn't seem to be the same player. He was not under contract and I'm sure that bothered him a lot."
"I love playing in Montreal," says Walter, "and I hope it will be the city I play in until the end of my career. The fans were very good to me and I cannot forget the way they accepted my wife and me" . . .
Savard has brought Hall of Famer Jacques Plante (five years Philadelphia's goalie tutor) back from Switzerland on a two-year contract to coach Montreal's goaltenders . . . The Hartford Whalers will name their coach today and indications are it will be Jack (Tex) Evans, 55, coach of the St. Louis Blues' Salt Lake City (CHL) affiliate the past five seasons after two years at Oakland and Cleveland in the big league . . . Pierre Lacroix, the Whaler defenseman whose aorta was ruptured in a Quebec traffic accident last week, is in stable condition but no way he will make it to training camp in September, says his agent.