Bob Joyce, among the most pleasant people to wear a Washington Capitals sweater, will now wear a Baltimore Skipjacks sweater. And soon it might be the sweater of an entirely new organization.

The Capitals sent the 24-year-old left winger to Baltimore yesterday and made it clear they are open to trade offers.

"The thinking is very simple," Capitals General Manager David Poile said. "We've chosen 14 other forwards ahead of him.

"There is no sense for him to sit around here waiting for something to change. It's best to get down there and play. Hopefully for him, there will be a break here in Washington or a break in terms of going to another team.

"He didn't seem happy about that, but he seemed determined to work hard and prove to us that we are wrong."

Joyce, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, was acquired from the Boston Bruins on Dec. 13, 1989, in exchange for veteran Dave Christian. Joyce and the Capitals were hoping a change in scenery and style would get him back to the level he played at in 1988-89, when he had 49 points for the Bruins.

Joyce scored three goals in four games, but then injured his knee on Jan. 3 in New York. When he returned, Terry Murray was coach, with his own style, and Joyce never got back on track. Training camp this season wasn't much better and he missed much of the last three weeks with a sprained ankle.

How deep is the hole he's in?

"Pretty deep right now," Murray said.

Babcock in Limbo

Defensemen Bob Babcock, who was sent to Baltimore Friday night, practiced with the Capitals yesterday.

Murray would like to keep him with the Capitals as much as possible, but he isn't necessarily going to play a lot of games. How often he will play and how often he will play for the Skipjacks will be decided as time passes.

Family Addition

Bob Rouse's wife, Dianne, gave birth to a baby boy, Torrey, early yesterday. Rouse will be back at practice today before the Capitals leave for New York, where they will play the Rangers Wednesday night.

Team Lecture

Frank Torpey, the NHL's director of security, spoke with the Capitals players yesterday as part of his annual tour of the league. He discussed, among other things, the perils of gambling.