Jacks fall short of Laird's expectations First-round exit disappoints coach

April 21, 1991|By James H. Jackson

Rob Laird said he was disappointed his Baltimore Skipjack did not go further in the Calder Cup playoffs than the first round but that he did see positives from the season.

The Skipjacks were eliminated from the American Hockey League playoffs Friday night with a 2-1 loss to the Binghamton Rangers at the Baltimore Arena in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series.

"I had great expectations for this club," the Skipjacks coach said yesterday. "I would have liked us to do better, and I'm not satisfied.

"The AHL was very competitive, and there was a lot of parity. It was a difficult season because of injuries and call-ups, but they ,, are part of the game and I don't want to use them as excuses. The positive aspects were that we sent a lot of players to the Capitals [21 men played for both teams], and that's the reason we're here."

Laird said he and Washington officials will meet with each Baltimore player during the next couple of weeks to evaluate the season and discuss the future.

This was the third season of the working agreement between the Capitals and Skipjacks and the second consecutive season the team made the Calder Cup playoffs. In March, a two-year extension of the agreement was signed.

* Baltimore president and majority owner Tom Ebright said yesterday that next season the Skipjacks will play fewer midweek games and more Friday and Saturday games.

"I've asked the league for 21 games on Fridays and Saturdays and seven more on holidays and holiday eves," Ebright said. "The remaining 12 games will be Sundays and Tuesdays, but we'll play fewer Tuesday games -- one a month -- and those will be in the latter part of the season."

The Baltimore attendance was down 11,000 from last season, an average of 275. "That's not too bad, compared to Hershey's being down nearly 22,000 in attendance," he said.

Despite the overall decline in attendance, the Skipjacks drew the largest crowd in the AHL this season, 9,311 on March 19 at the Arena. It was the third-largest home game in franchise history.

* The Capitals yesterday recalled goalie Jim Hrivnak to back up Don Beaupre and Mike Liut. Hrivnak will join the Capitals in time for tonight's Stanley Cup playoff game with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Capital Centre. Hrivnak is probably the first of several Skipjacks who will join the Capitals.

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