Don Beaupre will start in goal tonight when the Baltimore Skipjacks open their home American Hockey League season against the Fredericton Canadiens at the Baltimore Arena.
Beaupre was sent here for conditioning by the Washington Capitals yesterday. He missed the entire training camp because of a dispute.
The Capitals recalled Jim Hrivnak from Baltimore to back starting goalie Mike Liut.
The Skipjacks, who began their season Saturday with a 5-3 victory over the Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pa., have a new coach and many new players. The teams also will meet here tomorrow night.
Robbie Laird, the Skipjacks' third coach in two years, said: "We're good. We have some very good forwards and a solid defense."
The Skipjacks have only nine players among 22 who played here last season, when the Jacks led the Southern Division of the American Hockey League until the final day. They finished two points behind the Rochester Americans and Adirondack Red Wings. Baltimore beat Adirondack in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs and lost to Rochester in the semifinals.
"I'm very pleased with the progress we've made," Laird said. "The players have a great attitude and an excellent work ethic."
Laird said he was especially pleased with the leadership shown by veterans such as center Alfie Turcotte and defenseman Kent Paynter.
He also said he believes he has three solid lines with Tyler Larter, Victor Gervais and Reggie Savage on one line; Steve Seftel, Alfie Turcotte and Thomas Sjogren on another; and Steve Maltais, Tim Taylor and John Purves on a third.
The Skipjacks have received left wing Bob Joyce from the Capitals, but Joyce is hobbled with a sprained ankle. The addition of Chris Felix from Washington has firmed up a quick, mobile defense that features rookies Jim Mathieson, Jiri Vykoukal, Ken Lovsin and Rob Mendel, in addition to the veterans.
"We know Fredericton will be tough," said Laird. "They are a similar team to us, with a lot of speed and excellent goaltending."
The Canadiens, who were based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, last year, are 3-0 and lead the AHL Northern Division. Fredericton, which has former Skipjacks defenseman Alain Cote in its lineup, defeated Hershey, 3-2, Wednesday.