The Washington Capitals lost one of three games on thei recent trip, but the journey was costly because they lost defenseman and team captain Rod Langway with two broken toes on his left foot and right wing Dino Ciccarelli with a cut under the left eye that required 10 stitches.
Langway broke his toes in Thursday night's win over the Philadelphia Flyers and is out at least two weeks.
Ciccarelli's injury was much more dangerous. He was slashed under the left eye by the Minnesota North Stars' Derian Hatcher, the younger brother of the Capitals' Kevin Hatcher, and then cross-checked into the boards behind the Minnesota goal. Referee Kerry Fraser called nothing.
The Capitals, led by coach Terry Murray, argued long and hard that Hatcher should be given a five-minute major high-sticking penalty and game misconduct. Ciccarelli's wound, which was down to the bone, was shown on television (Channel 20), but Fraser declined to punish Hatcher.
Ciccarelli returned to play after being stitched by the North Stars physician but did not play in Sunday's game in Winnipeg and is doubtful for tonight's game against the Calgary Flames at the Capital Centre.
NHL supervisor of officials Jim Christie was at the game and said he will report to the league office on the incident.
"Christie told me not to worry," said Murray. "He said he would send a tape of the incident to the league office along with his report and that we should hear something on the matter later in the week. The thing that hurts is that he [Derian Hatcher] got away with something like this and other guys are called for the slightest stick violation. It's ludicrous."
Ciccarelli, with a swollen and nearly closed eye, returned to Washington on Sunday.
"The doctor checked my eye and said it appeared that there was no muscle or vision damage," he said. "The eye is very sore, and I don't know how long I'll be out."
Capitals left wing Kelly Miller will receive an Alka-Seltzer Plus Award before tonight's game.
Miller recorded a plus-10 rating during the 1990-91 season, edging Capitals center Mike Ridley by one point. Los Angeles Kings defenseman Marty McSorley, a former Baltimore Skipjack, and Flames center Theo Fleury shared the overall NHL award with plus-48 ratings.
Alka-Seltzer Plus will contribute $1,000 on behalf of Miller to the Children's Hospital of Washington.
"I just got back from two weeks of watching the teams in the IHL," said Pelletier. "I went as far west as Salt Lake City and saw every team in the league but Kansas City. The league is outdrawing the American league but is a little bit behind in overall play.
Down on the farm:
Capitals farmhand Randy Pearce continues to sparkle for the ECHL Hampton Roads Admirals. The left wing has 17 goals and 14 assists in 20 games. Center Victor Gervais leads the Admirals with 13 goals and 26 assists in 20 games.
Defensemen Brad Schlegel and Jason Wooley are playing for the Canadian Olympic team. Schlegel has three goals and 16 assists, and Wooley has eight goals and 14 assists.
Defenseman John Slaney, who plays for Cornwell in the Ontario Junior League, and center Jeff Nelson, who plays for Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League, have been chosen for the Canadian National Junior team.
Left wing Brian Sakic, who has 13 goals and 33 assists for Tri-Cities of the WHL, broke the all-time WHL assist record with his 346th feed.