Intermissions equipped for off-and-on changes


In many sports, players troop off the field at halftime, get a drink of water, listen to a coach's speech, maybe have a smoke and then go back out for the second half. In hockey, there are two intermissions and the coach doesn't always have a lot to say. So what do the players do?

According to Washington Capitals defenseman Paul Cavallini, hockey players spend much of their time between each period taking off and putting on equipment. They take off their skates "to help circulation because we've got them laced pretty tight for the games," Cavallini said.

They take off their jerseys and their shoulder pads and change into dry T-shirts "because we're all soaking wet from playing so hard." If they feel a nick in their skate -- "and if there is a small nick, you do feel it because it's like a part of your body. Something that small can put you off" -- they get it fixed. Some players have their gloves and skates dried between periods. And most players retape their sticks.

"Then we put it all back on in about three minutes and go back on the ice," Cavallini said.

High-o silver

When New Jersey coach Herb Brooks became upset with the play of Peter Stastny recently, he called the veteran forward's $700,000 contract "the biggest heist since Brinks." In response, Stastny wore a Lone Ranger mask to practice the next day.

The Capitals should know

When the Capitals visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, they should consider the following:

The Flyers' Rod Brind'Amour and Kevin Dineen get better as the game wears on. Through 63 games, Brind'Amour was minus-11 in the first period, minus-two in the second and plus-one in the third, while Dineen, sometimes his linemate, was even in the first, plus-three in the second and plus-seven in the third.

Trade talk

Rumor has it the Vancouver Canucks have an eye on Washington defenseman Sylvain Cote and might be willing to part with a left wing, either Sergio Momesso (13 goals, 18 assists) or former Cap Geoff Courtnall (23 goals, 42 assists). Rumor also has it that the Capitals could be interested in Hartford's Pat Verbeek (29 goals, 38 assists) or Edmonton's leading scorer Craig Simpson (24 goals, 22 assists), or Los Angeles' Tony Granato (29 goals, 32 assists).

Capitals general manager David Poile said the chances of making a trade yesterday were "zero," but the trading deadline is March 20. "By then," Poile added, "a lot of things could happen."

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