Six American Hockey League coaches served in one capacity or another with the Washington Capitals. When their teams meet, they sometimes do more than sing, "Thanks for the memories . . . ."

Former defenseman Gord Lane, the coach at Springfield, did not take kindly to the fact that recent Washington assistant Ron Lapointe, the coach at Fredericton, had launched a verbal barrage at Mick Vukota when the Springfield winger was ushered off the ice following a fight with Fredericton's Scott Shaunessy.

Lane left his bench and swung at Lapointe, triggering an all-hands brawl between the teams. As a result, Lane received a five-game suspension.

"I'm not saying it's always right, but yapping is part of my repertoire and I was yapping at Vukota," Lapointe said. "After all, he was in Washington's camp when I was there, so it's not as though we hadn't been introduced.

"Coaches spend a lot of time yapping. If they swung every time, they'd be in real trouble. Take {the Philadelphia Flyers'} Mike Keenan. If he fought every time he yapped at somebody, he'd fight every game."

Lapointe has Fredericton in a tie for first place in the AHL's Northern Division, but he said, "We're starting to lose guys left and right, a typical AHL scenario. Vancouver called up {Dan} Hodgson when he was leading the league in scoring and, now that he's hurt, they've taken {Jeff} Rohlicek. Quebec has called up {Mike} Hough. That's when you see what kind of team you've got, when you lose your top players."

Other AHL coaches with Washington connections are Tom McVie at Utica, John Paddock at Hershey, Paul Gardner at Newmarket and Ron Low at Nova Scotia.Hockey Glasnost

The Soviet Union may allow its players to sign with NHL clubs for the 1989-90 season, league president John Ziegler said after meeting with Soviet officials in Moscow.

Ziegler also said he and Soviet authorities were nearing agreement on bringing four Soviet teams to North America to play NHL clubs in the 1989-90 season. He said the games would count in league standings.

"I think we still have a way to go in this sphere, but today for the first time in 15 or 16 years of asking them to consider allowing their players to come to the NHL, they did not say no," Ziegler told United Press International.

The Soviets have said they are considering allowing more hockey and soccer players to sign long-term contracts in the West since the State Sports Committee will be self-supporting rather than relying exclusively on state subsidies. The committee would give players an allowance and keep the bulk of their salaries . . .

Buffalo had not lost two straight games until defenseman Phil Housley pulled a a muscle in his lower back. The Sabres, winless without him, have lost four in a row . . .

Everyone seems satisfied with the trade that sent Paul Coffey from Edmonton to Pittsburgh. Probably the happiest of all was James Patrick of the Rangers, at loose ends after being offered as Coffey trade bait. Patrick rolled his eyes on hearing the news and said, "It's over." . . . Be prepared for an overdose of puns, now that Coffey has joined Coach Pierre Creamer. A sign in Pittsburgh on Saturday read, "Since we got Coffey and Creamer, let's get the Cup."O'Connell's Turn in Corner

The latest player scheduled for a disciplinary hearing is Detroit defenseman Mike O'Connell, who has a date today with NHL Executive Vice President Brian O'Neill. After receiving a delayed high-sticking penalty, O'Connell anticipated retaliation by St. Louis' Doug Evans and brought his stick up again, nailing Evans in the face.

O'Connell received a 10-minute match penalty, plus the minor, equaling his previous season total of 12 minutes. The Red Wings not only killed off O'Connell's 12-minute sentence, but scored a shorthanded goal and went on to shut out the Blues . . . Punch Imlach, former general manager and coach at Toronto and Buffalo, is in critical condition in a Toronto hospital, kept on life support systems after suffering a heart attack.