It's been two weeks since the allegations of rape against four Washington Capitals surfaced, and there has been more angst than answers.

A grand jury is investigating. Team officials are waiting, trying to put off saying anything about a situation that could damage the franchise on and off the ice for years. Fans are left to wonder what the management and players think, which players will be in uniform when the 1990-91 season opens in October and whether they will want to pay to watch them.

Teammates of the accused don't know what to say. They don't want to blindly support friends but they don't want to abandon comrades. Mainly, they hope the accusations don't become charges.

"If something comes of it, then we'll have to deal with it," Capitals defenseman Bob Rouse said. "But if they are innocent, I can't see holding anything against somebody."

A D.C. Superior Court grand jury and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's office are looking into the allegations, filed with D.C. police more than two weeks ago. A girl, 17, told police that Neil Sheehy, Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall and Scott Stevens in various ways participated in raping and sodomizing her in a limousine outside a season-ending party in Georgetown. The players have either denied the accusations or kept silent.

The grand jury is the body that decides whether to indict. Such investigations can take months, but this one may move more quickly because there is a new sex crimes unit with the U.S. Attorney's office here, set up to streamline such investigations.

"Until we find out exactly what happened, it's hard to judge how you feel," Rouse said. " . . . I've gotten calls from parents and friends. They ask what happened and I tell them I go to the paper to read what's going on. The guys involved are wise in not talking and we're looking in like the rest of the public."

Rouse said there has been discussion of the incident among the other players, but it stops with the accused.

"I've talked to them, but not on that subject," he said. "At this point it's not a lot of my business. I'd rather wait until the legal situation is over with."

The stigma of the allegations against the four is felt by other players and their families. It all has made some players wary.

"If they are found innocent, you realize that you are kind of a target and have to be that much more careful," Rouse said. "If they are all innocent, then I think it can be a lesson, in that everyone will realize you have to try to avoid those situations as much as possible. Anyone can accuse me of anything. Someone can accuse me of murder and my name will be on the front page of the paper."

Sources have said the 17-year-old was dating Capitals right wing Steve Leach. He and teammate Nick Kypreos talked to investigators. Depending on what they said, it sets up the possibility of teammates testifying against teammates.

"Everybody wants the truth to be told," Rouse said. "It's just that it's dragged on long enough. The guys {Leach and Kypreos} are just going in and telling the truth, and the guys involved realize that. The main thing is that we want the truth to be told. It's frustrating for the players, their wives, their families and all of the Capitals staff."

From the beginning Capitals General Manager David Poile has been available and polite, but not forthcoming with his feelings or those of the organization he leads. He said he was collecting information but now it seems he too is waiting for the grand jury.

"I don't think I'll be able to collect all the information until after there is a decision," Poile said. "I try not to worry about things I don't have control over. It doesn't matter how long or short David Poile wants the process to be. They will do what they have to do. I know it sounds like a recording, but all the issues will be addressed at the appropriate time. I'm not involved in the process. I respect it and I have not interfered with that, nor have any members of the Washington Capitals organization."

Coach Terry Murray can only wait and plan for training camp, even if there is some doubt about who will be there to train. There is ice time to set aside in Lake Placid, N.Y., schedules for next season to review.

"That's all I can do," Murray said of waiting. "I still have to continue planning for training camp and getting ready for the season. There's nobody I can call or that I would want to talk to that could tell me anything."

It seems clear that no matter how the legal situation is resolved, the Capitals have been hurt in the area of community relations. Lew Strudler, vice president for marketing, says he thinks people are being patient.

"The calls we're getting -- and there are not as many as you would think -- basically say: 'What's going on? When will there be a decision? When will the team say something? When will the players say something?' " Strudler said. "Everybody is still in a holding situation, waiting to find out what is going on."A Call for Housecleaning

One test will come at the turnstiles. Strudler said last week the team has not received a single written notice from a fan wanting season tickets canceled. But renewal forms aren't scheduled to go out for a couple of weeks.

"They'll make their decisions when they hear all of the facts," Strudler said.

Much of the Capitals' marketing is aimed at families and women. A study done for the club by business students at American University indicated that more than 50 percent of Capitals attendance comes from households of at least three people and 38 percent of the customers are women.

Some fans are waiting, but some already have made decisions. A professional woman, 37, who asked that her name not be used, said she has been following the Capitals for nine years, her beau has season tickets and she has a partial season ticket plan.

"I will send it back with a note that I have no intention of renewing until those four are gone," she said.

"What I would like to see from the Caps -- and I personally will understand if they don't have a statement this week or next week or whatever -- but at some point I want them to say that these four will not again appear in a Capitals uniform, that the organization does not approve of what happened and that it expects higher standards from its personnel."

After the Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs, Poile said he did not envision much change in the makeup of his team, in part because there had been such drastic changes in the preceding 14 months. Now, it's possible that could change, though Poile is trying to play down the idea of trades.

"I have not talked to a general manager about a player or this matter," Poile said, though some of his NHL colleagues have made general inquiries. "Everybody is interested and sympathetic about the situation. But that's my problem."

Two years ago, then St. Louis Blues star Doug Gilmour was accused of sexual misconduct with a baby-sitter, 14. About a week after the allegations came out, Gilmour was sent to Calgary in a seven-player trade. Blues General Manager Ron Caron said the trade had nothing to do with the allegations, but the timing gave cause for wonder. Months later a grand jury decided not to indict Gilmour. The Key to Making a Trade

Frequently offseason trades precede or accompany the draft, this year set for June 16 at NHL meetings in Vancouver. Trading the accused players before the grand jury is done deliberating could be difficult; teams won't know whether the player or players will be free to leave Washington.

"I would say their value -- innocent or guilty -- would be based on their ability to play," said one general manager.

Ciccarelli is 30, but he registered his sixth 40-goal season in 1989-90 with a team-high 41. Courtnall, 27, had 42 goals in 1988-89 and 35 in '89-90. Sheehy, 30, would bring the least in a trade, but he is a strong, defensive defenseman.

Stevens's future with the team is more complicated because he played out the option year of his contract. To keep him the Capitals would have to offer him a new one. He can negotiate with other teams as of July 1, but the NHL's free agency system is very restrictive as compared with, say, baseball's. Any rival team signing Stevens would have to pay a huge price to the Capitals, not to mention the salary Stevens would draw.

According to NHL Players Association figures, Stevens made $300,000 in base salary the past season, plus bonuses and incentives. He surely will want at least $400,000 a year in wages. That salary would not even put him in the top half-dozen defensemen in the league, but if another team signed him at that salary level, that club would have to reimburse the Capitals at the highest level on the compensation scale: $100,000 cash plus two first-round draft picks. Each of those picks must be within the top seven (any year in a three-year span), even if it means the team has to trade for the picks to hand over to the Capitals. All told, it is an almost prohibitive price to pay for any player.

"It's a non-issue," said Rich Winter, an Edmonton-based agent who represents many NHL players. "What you will find is that people will not be banging on his door -- not because he isn't talented, but because there is no movement."

If Poile felt Stevens's continued presence in the organization was unworkable, he could simply decline to offer Stevens a contract. But then the Capitals would lose one of the league's best defensemen and would get no compensation from the team that eventually would sign him.

A more likely scenario should Poile decide he can't keep Stevens would be for the Capitals to sign him, then trade him. The public relations problem is never as great when a player moves. Two general managers said Detroit Red Wings left wing Bob Probert's conviction on cocaine charges was less of an issue than his inability to play well as the result of drug and alcohol problems. Probert played in the 1988 NHL All-Star Game.

"I would be very surprised if {Poile} makes those guys available," said another general manager, who said he had only sketchy knowledge of the case. "But there is no doubt that if he tries to trade these players that there will be interest. I don't think that would scare anybody off. If Probert was made available, a lot of people would go for him."