It's a new season, with new players, but the same old philosophy.
Ten days into the schedule, the Washington Capitals have restarted last year's trend of shuttling players back and forth on I-95.
This weekend's moves included shifting Bobby Babcock back to the Skipjacks before Saturday's game, and Jim Hrivnak and Mark Ferner will join the team for tomorrow's game at the Baltimore Arena against Utica.
Going south, or north actually, because the Caps are in Montreal tonight (7:35, WCAO-AM 600), are goalie Don Beaupre, left wing Steve Maltais and defenseman Chris Felix, all of whom contributed greatly to the Jacks' two-game sweep of the Fredericton Canadiens at the Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Beaupre allowed just three goals as the Jacks won, 5-2 and 7-1. Maltais had a hat trick in Saturday's game. Felix didn't score, but grabbed three assists and was the quarterback on the Jacks' power-play unit.
"There is no formal agreement that players will be moving back and forth but I guess you could call it a mutual understanding," said Jacks coach Robbie Laird, who is quite impressed with his )) team's 3-0 start. "That's one thing you need to understand in this league. Even a last-place team can be very good on a given night because the rosters tend to change so much."
The Caps (2-3) split a pair of games over the weekend at the Capital Centre, defeating Winnipeg, 3-1, Friday and losing to the New York Rangers, 5-2, on Saturday.
Beaupre's work here over the weekend was intended to be a one-shot deal, mainly because of his lack of time with the Caps, who have used Mike Liut in all six games. Hrivnak is expected to start for the Jacks tomorrow, and either Shawn Simpson or Olaf Kolzig will be reassigned to Hampton of the East Coast Hockey League before the weekend.
"It won't be a demotion for either one of them," Laird said. "The person we send there will be there to get as much work as possible. Assuming there are no injuries, we expected Hrivnak to start 50 or 60 games for us and that doesn't leave a lot of ice time for No. 2."
Maltais' strong offensive skills should benefit the Caps, who outshot the Rangers 83-40 in a pair of games, but lost both. He is expected to replace Peter Zezel, who was injured in Saturday's game.
VS. MONTREAL CANADIENS
* WHEN: Tonight, 7:35.
* WHERE: The Forum.
* RADIO: WCAO-AM 600.
* OUTLOOK: Don Beaupre, who allowed three goals in two games vs. Fredericton, the Canadiens' farm team, at the Arena this weekend, has been returned from the Jacks and is expected start tonight. Mike Liut has played the Caps' first five games in goal, allowing 21 goals (4.20 GAA). The Caps are 2-0 vs. non-Patrick Division opponents and winless (0-3) within their division. The Caps also acquired Steve Maltais and Chris Felix from the Jacks for tonight's game. The Habs will be without Ryan Walter, who is out with a broken wrist, and backup goalie Brian Hayward, who is still suspended for missing practice.