In yesterday's article on the Washington Capitals, one transaction was incorrect. Kelly Miller, Mike Ridley and Bob Crawford were traded by the Rangers to Washington in return for Bobby Carpenter and a second-round pick in 1989. (Published 2/16/91)

David Poile's colleagues often describe him as meticulous and thorough. That doesn't mean he won't take a chance on a trade, but that he will be very careful to calculate the risk.

"Bringing players in in the middle of the season is a very unsettling situation," Poile, the Washington Capitals' general manager, said last week. "Trading a player like Peter Zezel, and more so Bob Rouse, who had been here a couple years and was a popular player, is pretty unsettling.

"Bringing in a guy like John Kordic with something of a checkered past raises a question mark."

Those last words seem particularly prophetic this week. Kordic, who is part of the most recent of Poile's many trades, will be out for an undetermined amount of time while seeking treatment for an alcohol problem.

Poile and the Capitals certainly were aware of Kordic's past, which included some erratic behavior. Still, even if you know there is a chance you will fall off a horse, it doesn't lessen the pain when you hit the ground.

"It hit me like a shot between the eyes," Poile said.

If this part of his latest trade seems -- for the moment, at least -- to have missed, there have been other trades in Poile's tenure that have been splendid. Names synonymous with the Capitals -- Langway, Ridley, Miller, Ciccarelli, Hunter -- came via trades.

Washington gave a 1991 fifth-round draft pick to Toronto for Kordic and Paul Fenton, a left wing. Fenton immediately was sent to Calgary for defenseman Ken Sabourin, who was on the Flames' minor league team but stepped into the Capitals' lineup and will face his old team tonight at 9:35 at the Saddledome. So essentially they got Sabourin and Kordic for that fifth-round pick.

"To give up a fifth-round pick to get somebody to help your club now is a good deal," New York Rangers General Manager Neil Smith said before Kordic left the team. "In the fifth round, the percentages are pretty low that you'll get anybody to help your club. In Kordic, they felt they needed toughness, and he'll certainly give them that."

The Capitals are hoping Kordic can solve his problems. They like what they saw on the ice.

"We knew what we were getting and he had done the job," said Jack Button, the Capitals' director of player personnel and recruitment. "He came in and, from my viewpoint, propped up the team. Everybody saw we needed more toughness. As far as any inherent risk, there is risk in anything you do.

"I don't think anybody would go back on the situation. He's seeking help and we're helping him seek help. But if somebody had said we'll give you Sabourin for a fifth-round pick, my recommendation would have been to take him."

While trades are interesting for fans, management views them as necessary.

"You always want to build through the draft, with as little change as possible," said Poile, who has the final say on trades, but seems to listen to many voices and is not a "lone soldier," as he puts it. "But in the real world, it doesn't work that way."

In the last few years, the Capitals have undergone tremendous changes and much of the turnover has been the result of trades. Some of the deals seemed big at the time, and so they turned out. Some of them seemed relatively insignificant at the time, but now appear otherwise. Some were busts and others are so recent the outcome is uncertain.

"Two years ago, we had one of our best years, but we didn't do it in the playoffs and we came to an organizational decision that we weren't going to get any better with that team and that group," Poile said of moving from a veteran team to a younger one. "We've traded off a lot of good hockey players."

In the 1988-89 season, the Capitals finished first in the Patrick Division and third overall in the league during the regular season, but they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Of the 34 players used in the 1985-86 season, when the Capitals finished with 107 points, only three remain in the organization -- Rod Langway, Kevin Hatcher and Steve Leach. There are just seven left from the 1987-88 team.

Poile lists the Langway deal as his best since he joined the Capitals on Aug. 30, 1982. Eleven days after he became general manager, Langway, Craig Laughlin (now the team's color commentator), Brian Engblom and Doug Jarvis came from Montreal, which got Ryan Walter and Rick Green.

Although injured much of the year, Walter still is with the Canadiens and Green now plays for Detroit. Langway is the only one of the four traded to the Capitals who still is active (although he's currently out with back spasms), He has won two Norris trophies while with the team and has been a cornerstone of the franchise.

"It gave us a foundation of how we would be set up; a defensive-type mode. We hung our hats on that and that's how we've played since," Poile said.

The rest of the Capitals' current players arrived after Jan. 1, 1987. It was on that day Poile pulled a coup, getting Mike Ridley and Kelly Miller from the New York Rangers for Bobby Carpenter, Bob Crawford and a 1989 second-round draft pick.

Carpenter later was sent to Los Angeles for Marcel Dionne, who has since retired, and Carpenter now plays for Boston. Crawford has been retired for several seasons. Ridley and Miller still are key members of the Capitals. Their line (with Dino Ciccarelli) has become the team's best.

"That trade is still helping a rival in our division," said Smith, who was not with the Rangers at the time of the Carpenter deal. "That trade has done double duty for David -- helping his own team while hurting a team in his own division."

When Bob Mason unexpectedly decided to sign with Chicago as a free agent in 1987, the Capitals needed a goalie. When they sent Alan Haworth, Gaetan Duchesne and a 1987 first-round pick to Quebec, they got Clint Malarchuk, but also Dale Hunter.

The worst part of that deal for the Capitals was that they didn't get the chance to pick Joe Sakic, who was taken by Quebec with the Capitals' choice. The best part was Hunter, although Malarchuk later got them Calle Johansson.

The March 7, 1989, trade that sent Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy to Minnesota for Ciccarelli and Rouse came about in part because the Capitals grew weary of Gartner not showing the scoring prowess in the playoffs that he did during the regular season.

In 40 playoff games over five years with the Capitals, Gartner had 16 goals. In 14 playoff games over two season with the Capitals, Ciccarelli has 11 goals.

A major criticism of Poile is that he has not been able to acquire the right goaltenders.

"We never had the top goaltending you need to be successful, and it showed up in our record of a number of years," said Bryan Murray, the former Capitals coach and current Detroit general manager and coach. "But I've found out it is one of the most difficult commodities to deal for."

The Capitals had their best playoff success last spring, in part because they had their best playoff goaltending -- after Bryan Murray had departed. Don Beaupre arrived Nov. 1, 1988, from Minnesota for Claudio Scremin, who is still in the minors. Then last March 5, Poile sent Yvon Corriveau, a former No. 1 pick, to Hartford for Mike Liut. Corriveau is now in the AHL.

There also have been deals and situations that did not pan out for the Capitals.

The trade that seems to have had the worst result was the Dec. 13, 1989, deal that sent Dave Christian to Boston for Bob Joyce.

Actually, Poile was one for two with Christian. Poile got Christian from Winnipeg in 1983 for a first-round draft pick that was used to take Bobby Dollas, now a part-timer in Detroit. After scoring 190 goals in six seasons, Christian had just three goals in the first 28 games last season.

He had just 12 goals in 50 games with the Bruins, but he helped them eliminate the Capitals from the Wales Conference finals. And this season, the 31-year-old Christian is one of the Bruins' top scorers.

Joyce is among the most pleasant players ever, but he is in the minors.

"We lost out on this one because Bob Joyce has not turned out to be the type of player we thought he would," Poile said. "But I don't know if we could have resurrected Dave Christian from what he was doing here."

Paul Cavallini ran out of time with the Capitals. The story goes that Cavallini -- unhappy he wasn't getting ice time playing behind Scott Stevens and Langway -- slammed one too many doors, leading to his being shipped to St. Louis for a second-round pick in 1988. Cavallini -- whom Blues General Manager Ron Caron refers to as the Capitals' "lost bird" -- was an all-star last season.

Similarly, the Capitals didn't shed many tears when Garry Galley left and signed as a free agent with Boston in July 1988. But now Galley is a Bruins regular and, with his current coach, Mike Milbury, doing the choosing, Galley was an all-star this season.

And Stevens now is a Blue, as is Geoff Courtnall. Poile didn't want to lose either, but Stevens left for money and Courtnall left because he didn't want to play here after the incident in Georgetown following last season.

For Courtnall, the Capitals received Mike Lalor and Zezel. The assessment on this one goes both ways, although at the moment the Blues have an edge. The Capitals could use Courtnall's points, but not much else. Lalor has struggled and Zezel now is in Toronto.

Zezel and Rouse went to Toronto for Al Iafrate. "He is the most talented of the three players," Smith said of Iafrate.

Besides the trades, the Capitals, with much fanfare, brought in Soviets Mikhail Tatarinov (October) and Dimitri Khristich (December). Ideally, Poile said, the arrangements to get them would have been completed in time for them to have started the season, as was the case with fellow newcomer Peter Bondra.

Whatever, Poile is glad they are here and thinks they make the team more talented. With 21 games to go, the Capitals already have used 39 players, although much of the reason for that is injuries. Still, some wonder if Poile has let the mix settle enough.

"The answer to that is probably no," Poile said. "But I didn't want to have to make changes. I didn't want Scott Stevens to go to St. Louis and I didn't want Geoff Courtnall to not want to play here. But I didn't want players X, Y, Z to only have 10 goals and I didn't want us to be where we are.

"We've made a lot of changes, probably more than I would have liked, but I'm happy with the talent. It hasn't all come together yet for each individual or the club as a whole. We've seen signs that it's going to happen, but we also see a fragileness. It's a fine line every night, and that's pressure for a young team."

This year's trading deadline is 3 p.m., March 5. Poile refuses to discuss deals in the works, but he indicated he probably won't trade the draft picks the Capitals got from St. Louis -- two in the top seven overall, or five consecutive first-rounders -- until this summer, if at all.

But, he said, "if somebody offered me two front-line players that I know would make a difference for us immediately and for a number of years to come," he said, "I wouldn't be adverse to trading all of the compensation."

PLAYERS IN BOLD ARE STILL WITH ORGANIZATION

Date ..... Traded with .. Acquired ............... Gave up

9/10/82 .. Montreal ..... Rod Langway, Brian ..... Ryan Walter

........................ Engblom, Craig ......... Rick Green

........................ Laughlin, Doug Jarvis ...............

1/1/87 ... N.Y. Rangers . Mike Ridley, ............Bobby Carpenter

........................ Kelly Miller, .......... Bob Crawford,

.......................................... 1989 second-round pick

6/13/87 .. Quebec ....... Dale Hunter, Clint ..... Gaetan Duchesne

........................ Malarchuk, ............. Alan Haworth,

.......................................... 1987 first-round pick

7/6/8 .... Hartford ..... Neil Sheehy, ........... Ed Kastelic,

........................ Mike Millar............. Grant Jennings.

11/1/88 .. Minnesota .... Don Beaupre ............ rights to

................................................. Claudio Scremin

3/6/89 ... Buffalo ...... Calle Johansson, 1989 .. Clint Malarchuk

........................ second round pick ...... Grant Ledyard

3/7/89 ... Minnesota .... Dino Ciccarelli, ....... Larry Murphy,

........................ Bob Rouse .............. Mike Gartner

6/1/89 ... Buffalo ...... Mark Ferner ............ Scott McCrory

6/17/89 .. Los Angeles .. Alan May ......... 1989 fifth-round pick

10/2/89 .. Boston ....... Alfie Turcotte ......... Mike Millar

12/13/89 . Boston ....... Bob Joyce .............. Dave Christian

3/5/90 ... Hartford ..... Mike Liut .............. Yvon Corriveau

7/13/90 .. St. Louis .... Mike Lalor, ............ Geoff Courtnall

........................ Peter Zezel

9/30/90 .. Hartford ..... Dave Tippett ..... 1992 sixth-round pick

10/3/90 .. Hartford ..... Joel Quenneville.. future considerations

1/16/91 .. Toronto ...... Al Iafrate ............. Bob Rouse,

................................................. Peter Zezel

1/24/91 .. Toronto ...... John Kordic, ..... 1991 fifth-round pick

........................ Paul Fenton

1/24/91 .. Calgary ...... Ken Sabourin ........... Paul Fenton