Defenseman Rod Langway was the last man off the ice at the Washington Capitals' morning skate yesterday. The Capitals' captain figures that another hard workout today will have him ready to face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday.

When Langway sat out last night's game against Toronto, it marked his fifth straight absence because of a combination of a divorce trial and blurred vision.

"The doctor gave me the okay to play, but I'm just not in shape yet," Langway said. "And the eye is still a little blurry. I took all the tests Saturday and he gave me medication. There's no long-range problem. But it's better for me to work to be ready Friday. This was only my second time on the ice in 10 days."

Langway obtained joint custody of his three children in the divorce settlement with his wife, Linda.

"I've had a lot of things on my mind and I was pretty much sidetracked, even without the eye problem," Langway said. "Now that's all behind me and it's time to get on with hockey."

Langway has experienced eye trouble before, as one might expect from one of the last players who refuses to wear a helmet.

"I had to wear a patch for four days when I was with Montreal, because they were worried about eye damage," Langway said. "I was lucky then and I'm lucky now."

Will the recent blows to his head prompt him to try a helmet?

"Don't even ask that one," he replied. "I'm too old to change." . . .

Langway's absence gave Chris Felix another night of NHL work. It was Felix's 32nd NHL game since he joined the Capitals after playing for Canada in the 1988 Olympics.

Felix no doubt feels a bit like a yo-yo, the way he is frequently recalled, then reassigned. His latest experience was a classic, as he and Bob Joyce finished off an eight-game trip through the Canadian Maritimes with the Baltimore Skipjacks, then were summoned to join the Capitals in Hartford Saturday. Felix did not play until Monday, when he had two assists in the overtime victory in Detroit.

"We'd just finished the trip in Cape Breton {Sydney, Nova Scotia} when they told Bobby and me to go to Hartford," Felix said. "I called the wife and told her I'd be a few days late. I really don't know from one day to the next where I'll be, but it keeps me on my toes."

Coach Terry Murray admitted it is just another temporary assignment for Felix: "With the personnel here -- {Mikhail} Tatarinov and {Kevin} Hatcher and {Calle} Johansson -- it's difficult for Chris Felix to crack the lineup on a regular basis. He's a player capable of doing a job, a very good depth player in the organization. We'll see, but when Rod is ready, {Felix is} a player who probably will have to pay the price."