Many people in the Washington area were stopped by the blizzard; many of the Washington Capitals have been frolicking in the snow for the past few days. With a heavy contingent from Canada and Eastern Europe, large doses of snow are nothing new and nothing to fear.

Some players played in the snow with their kids. Some drove around town in their sport utility vehicles, even acting as good Samaritans along the way. James Black, a native of Saskatchewan, was tooling around town, enjoying Mother Nature's treat Tuesday when he came upon someone not faring as well.

"I found a lady near my house trying to go uphill in an alley in a Celica or something like that, and she didn't know what was going on," Black said. "She was stuck, and I just came up behind her in my car and lifted her car right up the street. It was kind of cool. She was all happy about it. It was fun. I'm western Canadian, man, this was nothing at all. I love going out there and riding in that stuff. We had some fun."

Black also was one of five Capitals to show up at Piney Orchard Tuesday even though practice was canceled. Forwards Black, Steve Konowalchuk, Jeff Halpern, Mike Eagles, Joe Sacco and goalie Craig Billington put the ice time to use, organizing their own practice.

"The Piney Orchard Crew, we call ourselves," Billington said. "Practice is the best time of the day, isn't it? We were like, 'We could go home, but there's ice and equipment, so--' "

Scratched

Forwards Mike Eagles, Jeff Toms and Jim McKenzie were healthy scratches. . . .

Captain Adam Oates invited Nicole Johnson, the 1999 Miss America, to be his guest in the owner's box for last night's game. A friend of Oates's has a daughter who is battling diabetes and knows Johnson, who also has the disease and is a lobbyist for the cause. . . .

The Capitals will hold their skills competition tonight at 7 at MCI Center. Admission is $2, with proceeds going to youth hockey and Children's Hospital. . . .

Unused tickets from last night's game may be redeemed for tickets to the Feb. 23 game against Florida or the March 15 game against the Islanders at the MCI Center box office or by mailing them to the Capitals' offices. . . .

The Capitals have earned points in 18 of their past 19 home games. . . . With last night's 2-1 victory over Calgary, the Capitals are 2-7-5 against the Western Conference this season and 7-26-6 over the past two seasons. . . . Jan Bulis has eight assists in the past six games; 10 in his first 35 games. . . . Rookie center Jeff Halpern took defenseman Ken Klee's spot playing the point on the power play.