PITTSBURGH, JAN. 29 -- The Washington Capitals often have a meeting after their morning skate, as they did today. But John Kordic isn't at the meeting stage yet.

While the Capitals attempted to coordinate their thoughts in an effort to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the Civic Arena, Kordic skated. Then he skated some more. His meeting was with assistant coach John Perpich and a stopwatch.

"I think I'll be ready by the weekend, if they want to play me," Kordic said afterward.

Kordic was acquired from Toronto Thursday along with Paul Fenton for a fifth-round draft pick. Fenton then was sent to Calgary. While former Flames defenseman Ken Sabourin has stepped right in, Kordic needs time to get in shape.

The Maple Leafs sent him home in November. So after more than two months removed from NHL activity, it shouldn't be a shock that he is anxious to resume playing. But if Kordic is looking toward Saturday's game against Winnipeg as his Capitals debut, he might be disappointed.

Coach Terry Murray was not so sure Kordic will be ready by then.

"I realize there will eventually have to be some game time, but we really haven't had an opportunity to have a complete practice with him yet," Murray said.

The Capitals will practice here Wednesday before flying to New York for their game against the Islanders Thursday night. They also are scheduled to practice Friday after flying home.

Kordic was brought in to provide physical play. "But I'm not looking for one or two shifts," Murray said. "I'll look for him to play well. I can't have John Kordic in the lineup just to have a loaded gun on the bench."

Scant Extra Help

With Steve Seftel and Mark Ferner going back to Baltimore, the Capitals have no extra players, with the exception of Kordic. Murray said he scratched Dave Tippett from Sunday's game against the Islanders because he wanted to see Seftel play once more. . . .

Dino Ciccarelli started tonight's game with 398 career goals. . . . An indication of the Capitals' goal-scoring problems is that John Druce's 18 goals are the most on the team; Druce has scored only three since Dec. 1. . . .

Penguins goalie Tom Barrasso, who was named NHL player of the month for December, probably would have played tonight, but he has a nasty cut on the end of the middle finger of his left hand. It makes holding the stick difficult. . . . The Penguins have not lost two in a row since Dec. 8 and 11. It is the longest such streak for the team since the 1979-80 season.