Jack Button, the Washington Capitals' director of player personnel and recruitment, estimates he already has seen 100 hockey games this summer in such diverse locations as Scandinavia, Germany, Banff, Colorado Springs, Baton Rouge and Cape Cod.
This afternoon, Button will be looking at more hockey players, many drafted as the result of previous scouting trips, when the Capitals open a three-day rookie camp at Mount Vernon Ice Rink.
The idea of the camp is to make the newcomers comfortable before the main camp opens Tuesday.
"Rookie camp probably is the wrong word. I like to call it acclimatization," Button said. "When we start training camp Tuesday, we start full blast.
"This will get the players used to the coaches and to the drills, and it will give the coaches a better evaluation of the players. Last year, some kids were lost when camp started. Probably, they were just intimidated. This will give them a chance to be familiar with our routine ahead of time."
Twenty-six players are scheduled to be on the ice today, including 15 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders.
The goalies are familiar figures to the Capitals -- Bob Mason, Mike Blake and Rick St. Croix. Although the NHL contract with the players association forbids general sessions before Tuesday, it exempts players such as Mason who have not appeared in 50 NHL games, and Blake and St. Croix, here on tryout and not covered by Washington's protected list.
Most prominent among the youngsters is defenseman Kevin Hatcher, who turned 19 Monday. Hatcher, the team's No. 1 draft choice in 1984, nearly made the team a year ago and is considered a certainty to stick this time.
The top two 1985 draft picks, left wing Yvon Corriveau and right wing John Druce, will be watched closely.
WDCA-TV-20 is scheduled to televise 20 of the Capitals' road games this season, an increase of five over previous campaigns.
The 20-game schedule will begin with the opener against the New York Rangers Oct. 10.