Soviet defenseman to join Caps


LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals last night signed defenseman Mikhail Tatarinov, their first Soviet player, and hope he will be ready to play for them Tuesday night at The Spectrum against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Tatarinov, 24, was the Capitals' 11th-round selection in the 1984 entry draft. He has been playing for the Soviet Elite League champion Moscow Dynamo, and, in 44 games, had 11 goals, 10 assists and 34 penalty minutes.

"This is my dream come true," Tatarinov said through an interpreter. "I have always wanted to play in the National Hockey League."

Jack Button, Washington director of player personnel, said Tatarinov, who flew from the Soviet Union yesterday, is "anxious to start playing for the Capitals. He hasn't played in 10 days, but he wants to play. He'll practice with the team tomorrow [today] and Monday and hopefully play for us on Tuesday in Philadelphia."

Capitals general manager David Poile said: "In 1984, I asked Jack Button who was the best player available, and he said it was Tatarinov. I said, 'What the heck,' and took a chance on him. I hope he'll have long career in the NHL."

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