Terry Murray plans to use a blend of veterans and rookies when his Washington Capitals open their exhibition season Friday at 7:35 p.m. against the New York Rangers at the Baltimore Arena.
Murray, whose team has been practicing since Sunday in Lake Placid, N.Y., said he plans to have veteran Mike Liut, acquired from the Hartford Whalers late last season, and rookie Jim Hrivnak, share the goaltending against the Rangers, the team the Capitals defeated in the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring to win the Patrick Division championship.
Among the players dressing for Friday's game, Hrivnak, defensemen Chris Felix, Mark Ferner, Kent Paynter and Bobby Babcock and forwards Steve Maltais, John Druce, Rob Murray, Steve Seftel, John Purves and Alfie Turcotte all played for the Capitals' American Hockey League affiliate, the Baltimore Skipjacks, last season.
"These players are familiar to the Baltimore fans and I want tsee how they do against the Rangers," Murray said. "A lot of them played with both the Skipjacks and Capitals last year, and I know they are competent players."
Murray said he hasn't decided who will man his forward lines or what his defensive alignments will be. "Its still very early and I'm just going to play it by ear, maybe mix things up as we go along," he said.
The Capitals, who will play the Rangers again Saturday in Albany, N.Y., have several new players, but none will play against the Rangers Friday.
Among them are center Peter Zezel and defenseman Mike Lalor, both obtained from the St. Louis Blues in a trade for left wing Geoff Courtnall. Zezel had 25 goals and 47 assists in 73 National Hockey League games for the Blues last year, and Lalor is a solid defenseman. Other newcomers are center Peter Bondra and defenseman Jiri Vykoukal, both from Czechoslovakia, and right wing Thomas Sjogren from Sweden.
This is the first of two Washington exhibition games at the Baltimore Arena. The Capitals will face the Philadelphia Flyers in a doubleheader that will also feature the Skipjacks against the Hershey Bears Sept. 29.
Here are the players who will dress for the Washington Capitals for their exhibition game against the New York Rangers Friday at the Baltimore Arena: