The Washington Capitals are off to their best start in franchise history, they have won five of seven games at the Capital Centre and the home attendance reflects this. The Capitals are 535 fans a game above a year ago.
The Capitals have averaged 16,642 a game this year, up from 16,107 a year ago and have had one sellout (18,130), last Friday against Detroit.
"I think our overall excellent play, both at home and on the road, is reflected in our attendance so far," said Lew Strudler, vice president in charge of marketing. "We've had aggressive marketing and everything is paying off."
The Capitals' top AHL farm club, the Baltimore Skipjacks, is not doing as well. The Skipjacks, despite leading the Southern Division, are lagging in attendance from a year ago, averaging 2,474 at the Baltimore Arena -- down nearly 850 . The Jacks have drawn a total of 22,271 to nine games at the Arena this season.
* Bryan Murray said it was no big deal that his Detroit Red Wings defeated the Capitals, his former NHL team, Friday, 5-4, at the Capital Centre. The Capitals are coached by Terry Murray, Bryan's brother, who replaced him Jan. 15, 1990. Bryan had lost all three previous games to Terry.
"It really didn't have any great significance to me, other than it was another win," said Bryan. "But it should make my wife happy. She had been asking me if I was ever going to beat Washington.
"The guys [Red Wings players] made a big thing of the win and that was nice. They presented me with the game puck and cheered in the locker room afterward. That was a very nice gesture."
* The Red Wings, who are riding a three-game winning streak, retired the sweaters of two of their Hall of Famers, Ted Lindsay (7) and Alex Delvecchio (10), Sunday during the 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues in Joe Louis Arena. Lindsay and Delvecchio joined Gordie Howe (9), who had his sweater retired earlier, to form the Production Line that led the Red Wings to their last Stanley Cup championship in 1955.
* Goalie Stephane Fiset had a horrendous week at the hands of the Washington Capitals organization. Last Tuesday, while playing for the Halifax Citadels of the AHL at the Baltimore Arena, Fiset faced 37 shots as the Baltimore Skipjacks prevailed, 5-2. Sunday, in Le Colisee de Quebec, the Capitals pummeled him with 42 shots in a 10-3 victory over the Quebec Nordiques, which he had joined on Friday.
* Goalie Yanick Degrace, a Philadelphia Flyers farmhand, went Fiset one better, dressing in three different leagues in one week. Degrace was recalled from the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior League because injuries left the Flyers without a backup goalie. After one game he was shuffled to the Hershey Bears, the Flyers' AHL affiliate, which was in need of an emergency goaltender.
Degrace, 20, made 48 saves as Hershey and the Cape Breton Oilers played to a 3-3 tie. Degrace was back at Hull the next day when the Flyers returned Dominic Roussel to the Bears and Flyers goalie Ron Hextall was recovered from an injury.
* Mike Liut has won 290 NHL games, moving him ahead of Ed Giacomin into 10th place in the all-time goaltenders standings. Liut trails ninth-place Turk Broda, who has 302 wins.
* NHL milestones: Center Dale Hunter has gone over the 700-point mark for his 12-year NHL career. Defenseman Sylvain Cote reached the 100-point mark in his eight-year NHL career last Friday and Cote will reach the 400-game plateau tonight against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
* Down on the farm: Center Victor Gervais scored three goals and had an assist in the Hampton Roads Admirals' 7-3 victory over the Greensboro Monarchs. Goalie Olie Kolzig had 38 saves in the same game. . . . In Europe, right wing Andrei Kovalev, Dynamo Minsk, has four goals and three assists in six games. . . . In the Ontario Hockey League, defenseman Rick Corriveau has 3 goals, 16 assists in 12 games, center Pat Peake (11-12), LW Justin Morrison (7-7), defenseman Rod Pasma (2-0), center Bill Kovacs (9-9), defenseman Rod Leask (0-1) . . . in the Western Hockey League, C Jeff Nelson (10-13), defenseman Rod Puchniak (1-4), right wing Steve Konowalchuk (5-7), left wing Brian Sakic (2-12) . . . in the Quebec Major Junior League, center Trevor Duhaime (4-13) and left wing Carl LeBlanc (2-16). . . . Defensemen Brad Schlegel (3-12) and Jason Woolley (7-12) are with the Canadian National team.