Washington Capitals officials are tight-lipped about it, but there is some indication they are in the process of negotiating with officials of the Soviet Union's Sokol Kiev team to gain the release of 21-year-old center Dmitri Hristich.

"I don't want to answer that," General Manager David Poile said when asked if such negotiations were proceeding. "Like the {Mikhail} Tatarinov situation, you don't know what their position is."

On Oct. 20, the 24-year-old Tatarinov joined the Capitals, making him the youngest player allowed to leave the Soviet Union to play in the NHL.

Until this season, it was mostly older Soviet players who had been given permission to play professionally in North America.

Tatarinov was allowed to leave after leading his Moscow Dynamo team to the championship of the Soviet Elite League. Earlier this week, Quebec reached an agreement with the Central Red Army team to allow 26-year-old defenseman Alexei Gusarov to join the Nordiques.

Although the Capitals had been working on getting Tatarinov since they drafted him in 1984, much was done during the team's trip to the Soviet Union in September of 1989. Also during that trip, Poile and Jack Button, the Capitals' director of player personnel, visited Kiev to see Hristich.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hristich had 14 goals and 22 assists last season for Sokol Kiev. The Capitals used their sixth choice (120th overall) in the 1988 draft to take Hristich.

Langway Back on Ice

With personal business taken care of and his vision improved, Rod Langway returned to the Capitals' lineup for last night's 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital Centre.

"There is still a little bit of blood in the eye itself, but my vision is as good as I can expect," Langway said before the game. Langway, examined last Saturday, said he was under the impression his vision will eventually return to normal. The eye was injured in Nov. 11 against Boston.

"If I close and then reopen the eye, it can take time to focus," he said.