The Washington Capitals cleared up their goaltending
situation and strengthened their defense with two major moves yesterday.
The Caps sent their most reliable goalie, Don Beaupre, to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round 1995 draft pick, leaving the goaltending to Rick Tabaracci and Olie Kolzig.
The Caps also traded holdout defenseman Kevin Hatcher, a former team captain, to the Dallas Stars for rugged defenseman Mark Tinordi and Rick Mrozik, a 20-year-old defenseman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the Stars' sixth-round pick in the 1993 entry draft.
"We've decided to go in a different direction with our goaltending, giving our young goalies the opportunity to step up and earn the No. 1 position and see if they can take us to heights in the playoffs where we've never been before," said Washington general manager David Poile. "And I think this trade for Mark Tinordi is going to be significant not only today, but for many years to come."
Poile compared the acquisition of the 6-foot-4, 213-pound Tinordi, who has been the Stars' captain for three years, to the trade he made with the Quebec Nordiques for current Caps captain Dale Hunter before the 1987 season.
"I think that was one of the better trades in our history," Poile said. "When we acquired Dale I don't think he was a household name in Washington, but he sure was in Quebec, and he was often referred to as their heart and soul. I think what
we've acquired here in Mark is the same kind of player. A player who maybe doesn't have the most talent and biggest stats, but a guy with the grit and determination that has winner written all over him."
The trade came as a surprise to Tinordi, who has spent the past six years with the Stars/North Stars.
"At this point, I have to say I'm more disappointed than happy," he said. "I've been with this team when it was building and I've developed from being just a fighter to the team captain. It's really hard to leave."
Tinordi, in the final year of his three-year contract, which called for him to earn $1.15 million this year, said he was close to working out a long-term deal in Dallas and hopes to do so with the Caps, an idea that Poile seemed agreeable to last night.
"I don't know anything about the Capitals, about what they need or how they want me to play," Tinordi said. "I only got to talk to the Caps about three minutes [yesterday] because they were so busy. But I hope to be there soon and playing in the opener Saturday."
Tinordi, who at 28 is the same age as Hatcher, is known to be a commanding force on the blue line. He plays with a physical style, which Caps center Joe Juneau can attest to because it was Tinordi's elbow that broke Juneau's nose last season.
Tinordi's style often has seen him get the worst of it, however. There has been a broken collarbone, a bout with "drop foot syndrome" (the same malady that struck Caps defenseman Calle Johansson after a serious hit in the playoffs last spring) and his most recent injury, a broken left leg last Feb. 23, from which he is said to be completely recovered.
Tinordi has never played a complete schedule. Last year the fracture limited him to 61 games, in which he produced six goals and 18 assists and had a plus-six rating.
"He's a big, physical guy," said Caps defenseman Jim Johnson, who played with Tinordi in Minnesota and Dallas. "He'll fit in well here. Whenever you've got a guy like Kevin Hatcher sitting out, you've got a big void to fill and he'll help fill it."
1% After playing out his option last
season, Hatcher, the Caps' No. 1 draft choice nine years ago, did not report to training camp and then asked for a trade, saying he was "underappreciated."
"Larry Murphy was booed out of Washington, and I think that's kind of the case with Kevin, too," Poile said. "I don't think what Dallas has offered Kevin is significantly more, and might be equal to, what we offered. It might have been part of Kevin's strategy to ask for a dollar figure -- $3 million -- he knew we wouldn't agree to."
In fact, Hatcher signed the same six-year, $2.5 million deal with Dallas that the Caps had offered.
"He just didn't want to play here," Poile said.
Hatcher was in Dallas for the news conference yesterday and then left with the team for Vancouver, where the Stars will begin a four-game, season-opening road trip tomorrow.
"His enthusiasm was unreal when he heard the news," said Hatcher's mother, Carol. "I think it was hard for him to make the decision he made, but I think it was also time for him to move on."
XTC Part of the happiness comes from the fact that Kevin will be on the same team with his brother, Derian.
Beaupre, of course, was not quite so happy about being traded to Ottawa, but he took the news with grace.
"I never expected to finish my career with Washington," said Beaupre, 33, obtained from the Minnesota North Stars on Nov. 1, 1988. "But I did think I'd start the season here and then, depending on how Rick and Olie played, something might happen later."
Beaupre anchored the Caps' goal for the past five seasons, compiling a 128-96-27 record. He holds nine career and six season records for Washington. "Beaup's a good man," said Hunter. "But this is the business we're in."
The issue for the Caps, said coach Jim Schoenfeld, is how to best enable the team's young goaltenders -- Kolzig, Tabaracci, Byron Dafoe and Jim Carey -- to vie for the No. 1 job, raise the level of their play and raise the performance of the team.
"We felt the best way to do that was to remove Don from the process," said Schoenfeld. "That way, we, as coaches, can't take the easy way out and fall back on him. It also makes the goaltenders realize they have to accept the responsibility of carrying [the team] to victory."
Yesterday, Tabaracci said "there was a real big hush in the room when Donnie was called out" to talk to Poile.
"Donnie is a really good guy," said Tabaracci, who at 26 is now the oldest goalie in the organization. "It's a tough situation. Yes, it's nice to have the organization show its confidence in you, but you don't want to lose the human side, either. I mean, yesterday you're sitting in a hot tub talking, and now that person is gone."
4*Season Team .. .. GP .. G .. .. A .. Pts
1987-88 NYR .. .. 24 .. 1 .. .. 2 .. . 3
1988-89 Min. . .. 47 .. 2 .. .. 3 .. . 5
1989-90 Min. . .. 66 .. 3 .. .. 7 ... 10
1990-91 Min. . .. 69 .. 5 .. . 27 ... 32
1991-92 Min. . .. 63 .. 4 .. . 24 ... 28
1992-93 Min. . .. 69 . 15 .. . 27 ... 42
1993-94 Dal. . .. 61 .. 6 .. . 18 ... 24
Totals . .. .. . 399 . 36 ... 108 .. 144