Earlier this week Rod Langway became the latest in a growing line of famous athletes, including Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky and Walter Payton, to sign what is euphemistically referred to as "a lifetime contract." Presumably for as long as Langway plays hockey, he will play it for the Washington Capitals. And after his playing career is over, he will continue to be associated with the Capitals in some mutually agreed upon capacity. Perhaps as a TV/radio color commentator. Or a coach. Or a parking lot attendant.

The lifetime contract, according to Langway's agent, Arthur Kaminsky, "has become a generic term in the business. It is intended to mean for the lifetime of a career and a reasonable time thereafter. It's more or less a never-ending commitment to each other, in which the athlete gets a lot of money over a lot of years."

Exact terms of Langway's contract were not disclosed. But sources close to Langway and Kaminsky have told me that the most interesting aspects of the deal were not the dollar amounts involved, but the fringe benefits -- the perks and the incentive clauses. The Capitals have done more than simply dump a pile of money on Langway. They have given him the tools to become a one-man theme park.

Just how close, you ask, are these sources?

Hey, who died and named you foreman of the grand jury?

The Capitals agreed to lease Langway their penalty box. From now on, anyone who gets sent off the ice for slashing, or high-sticking, or hiding false teeth under the red line, or whatever else hockey players get penalized for, must pay Langway rent. This season it's $10 per minute. Cash only. And if you don't pay, you don't skate.

The Capitals agreed to collect and bag all the ice shavings from around the goal area between periods and to give them to Langway to use at his discretion. A feasibility study, paid for by the Capitals, will determine whether Langway's interests are better served by selling small bags of souvenir shavings directly to the fans, or by selling large bags to the Capital Club restaurant for use in shrimp cocktails.

The Capitals agreed to let Langway use Capital Centre, rent-free, one night per year. (The Lakers have a similar deal with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.) Langway is reportedly considering staging a food fair, which would feature all the gourmet foods that hockey players and fans crave most: beer, popcorn, pretzels, and, of course, more beer. (Have I left anything out? Did I mention beer?)

As you surely know by now, Langway was born in Taiwan. The Capitals agreed to give him exclusive rights to all Capitals games broadcast there. (Hoo-boy, that Capitals-Whalers tilt ought to get a 50 share in Taipei.) As an added bonus, the Capitals will give Langway $2 for each Taiwanese national or anyone bringing a Little League bat to a Capitals home game.

Should they win the Stanley Cup, the Capitals agreed to put Langway on permanent display in the trophy case at Duke Zeibert's.

The Capitals agreed to give Langway ownership of their Zamboni machine. The Capitals will pay Langway to drive it between periods, or pay any driver of his choice. (Rod Langway is an equal opportunity employer. For a formal prospectus, contact David Poile.) The Capitals, however, will prohibit Langway from driving the Zamboni in the Indianapolis 500.

The Capitals agreed to buy Langway either a summer home in the Hamptons, or the entire state of North Dakota, whichever was cheaper.

The Capitals agreed to provide Langway with a private parking space outside Capital Centre. Large enough for the Lear Jet they agreed to lease for him.

The Capitals agreed to commission a script and finance a movie, for Langway to star in, called "Rocky Takes A Slap Shot, Eh?" about a hockey player trying to become heavyweight champion of the world.

The Capitals agreed to make Langway their Pacific Islands Area scout after his playing career ends. As such he is required to make three trips per year -- at the Capitals' expense -- to Hawaii and Tahiti to evaluate hockey players, or get a good tan, whichever is more convenient.

The Capitals agreed to send Langway to dental school, then employ him as an orthodontic consultant to the team. (If you doubt it, be advised that Kaminsky once negotiated a deal for George Doc Medich, the former baseball pitcher, to provide medical services to the Texas Rangers for two weeks each year at spring training camp.)

The Capitals agreed to give Langway free advertising space on the backs of their uniforms and along the boards at Capital Centre.

The Capitals agreed to guarantee that Langway has a single room on the road in the hotel of his choice, even if it's not in the city where the Capitals are playing that night.

The Capitals agreed to furnish Langway 50 free tickets per performance, in the understanding that Langway would distribute the tickets to underprivileged children. Langway, however, defined "performances" as theatrical productions in London, not hockey games in Landover. Kids, the line forms on the left. make three trips per year -- at the Capitals' expense -- to Hawaii and Tahiti to evaluate hockey players, or get a good tan, whichever is more convenient.

The Capitals agreed to send Langway to dental school, then employ him as an orthodontic consultant to the team. (If you doubt it, be advised that Kaminsky once negotiated a deal for George [Doc] Medich, the former baseball pitcher, to provide medical services to the Texas Rangers for two weeks each year at spring training camp.)

The Capitals agreed to give Langway free advertising space on the backs of their uniforms and along the boards at Capital Centre.

The Capitals agreed to guarantee that Langway has a single room on the road in the hotel of his choice, even if it's not in the city where the Capitals are playing that night.

The Capitals agreed to furnish Langway 50 free tickets per performance, in the understanding that Langway would distribute the tickets to underprivileged children. Langway, however, defined "performances" as theatrical productions in London, not hockey games in Landover. Kids, the line forms on the left.