Nobody will take a closer look at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary than the general managers of teams in the NHL's Patrick Division. Patrick clubs hold the rights to 14 members of the United States team, as well as three Canadians, and some of them are good enough to provide a playoff boost if the race is tight heading down the stretch.

The New York Rangers figure to benefit the most, since U.S. defenseman Brian Leetch, a first-round draft pick in 1986; center Corey Millen, a 1984 U.S. Olympian, and U.S. winger Tony Granato are capable of filling obvious holes.

New Jersey is another club that ought to get a boost. Sean Burke, Canada's No. 1 goaltender, will join the Devils along with winger Kevin Miller, the top scorer on the U.S. team.

Pittsburgh is looking for big things from Canadian defenseman Zarley Zalapski, another first-round selection in 1986. The Penguins also are expected to land Canadian goalie Andy Moog via a planned deal with Edmonton.

Although Philadelphia has only U.S. defenseman Allen Bourbeau to check over, the Flyers will get a big March lift in another area with the return of injured scoring star Tim Kerr.

Washington has two prospects in the Olympics, U.S. winger Steve Leach and Canadian defenseman Chris Felix, neither of whom is expected to provide immediate help.

Asked if he was concerned because teams challenging the Capitals can get better in March, General Manager David Poile said, "I'm concerned about getting points on the board now and playing to the level we should be at. I know it's a GM's task to plan for the future, but I can't see beyond the upcoming week and our need to play better hockey. Better hockey to me is winning."Don't Blame Goalies

Although Los Angeles has yielded 152 goals, most in the NHL, General Manager Rogie Vachon, a former goaltender, has absolved the Kings' goalies of blame. A close observer of the Kings goes farther: "If Georges Vezina had played goal for this team, they never would have named a trophy after him." . . . Asked what team he was looking forward most to playing, new Quebec coach Ron Lapointe cited Washington, where he spent two years as an assistant. "It's going to be special because {Bryan} Murray is going through rough moments right now," said Lapointe, who obviously did not leave Murray's employ a happy man. . . Of departed coach Andre Savard, who alienated most of the players, a veteran Nordique said, "It's all right to coach like Scotty Bowman if you win like Scotty Bowman." All for Charity

The Capitals' annual charity auction will follow Sunday's game against St. Louis. Among the items up for bids: Murphy will deliver a birthday cake to a children's party, goaltending coach Warren Strelow will conduct a one-hour private lesson and two Capitals will tend bar at a party in a private home. . . At the board of governors meeting in Florida, the NHL made two changes in its bylaws. The maximum fine for general discipline was raised from $10,000 to $100,000, after a British Columbia court cited the bylaws in reducing Vancouver's tampering fine to $10,000 in the Pat Quinn case. When suspension results from deliberate attempt to injure, the team must pay the league half the player's salary during the suspension for a first offense, all of it for a second.