CHICAGO, JAN. 19 -- Kevin Hatcher is getting to be a regular at these NHL all-star games, but that doesn't mean there isn't a bit of a kid left in the 24-year-old Washington Capitals defenseman.
After collecting an assist for the Wales Conference in its 11-5 loss to the Campbell Conference today at Chicago Stadium, Hatcher went about collecting autographs on an all-star pennant. That might seem unusual for athletes in some sports, but is not uncommon among hockey players.
"You could say I was a little more relaxed this time," Hatcher said of his play. "I tried to have fun and play my style, which is now a little more offensive."
Hatcher began the game paired with former Capital Garry Galley, now with the Boston Bruins, but the pairs were mixed later. Hatcher's assist came when the Islanders' Pat LaFontaine put in the rebound of a Hatcher shot for a 2-2 tie.
Hatcher, who also had an assist last year, had a great second half of 1989-90 and is leading the Capitals in scoring this season. His stature was reflected in salary figures released today by the NHL Players Association.
The union's list of the top 100 salaries in the league seems to have some possible discrepancies and did not include some recently signed contracts. The figures supposedly include any signing bonus divided over the term of the contract.
Los Angeles Kings center Wayne Gretzky is atop the list with an annual salary of $3 million. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux is next at $2,333,000. Six more players (Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman, Denis Savard, Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and Scott Stevens) will make at least $1 million this season.
Six Capitals made the top 100. Hatcher is the highest, at $600,000. He held out during training camp to get his deal renegotiated. The new contract is for three years plus an option, and sources indicated it averages $750,000 a season.
Goalie Mike Liut ($455,000), right wing Dino Ciccarelli ($408,000), newly-acquired defenseman Al Iafrate ($388,000), center Mike Ridley ($350,000) and defenseman Rod Langway ($268,000) are the other Capitals on the list. The Langway figure differs from last year's published salary of $342,000, which sources said is also his salary this season. Official Recognition
The all-star game also is an honor for officials. The referee today was Terry Gregson and the linesmen were Jerry Pateman and Dan Schachte. . . .
There were nine Americans among the 42 players in uniform today.