Capitals pick up 'acceptable' goalie Weeks signed to avoid Wolfe draft debate

June 17, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

The bizarre one-day comeback by former Washington Capitals goaltender Bernie Wolfe, 40, is over.

The Capitals signed goalie Steve Weeks to a contract yesterday and apparently will make him available in tomorrow's NHL expansion draft, avoiding a confrontation with the league over Monday's signing of Wolfe.

Wolfe has not played in the NHL in 13 seasons, retiring Oct. 9, 1979, after four seasons with the Capitals.

NHL rules stipulate that each team make one goalie who has played at least one game in the NHL available in the expansion draft, which will stock the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The use of Wolfe by Washington in the draft would have been technically legal but it went against the spirit of the rule, which doesn't specify when the goalie had to play in the league.

Weeks, who will be 34 in two weeks, played for the New York Islanders and the Los Angeles Kings last season and has been in the league the past seven years.

Weeks had a 3.69 goals-against average last season and is considered a legitimate expansion draft goaltender.

Capitals general manager David Poile told The Associated Press yesterday that the NHL called him Monday and asked to have a meeting in Toronto yesterday on the Wolfe signing.

"The meeting was to determine whether Bernie Wolfe's contract met the criteria of the expansion draft," said Poile. "Rather than risk the NHL finding a problem with the contract, we have signed Steve Weeks, who was a regular goalie in the league last year."

Wolfe, a financial planner living in Potomac, played in 120 games for Washington from the 1975-76 season through the 1978-79 season, posting a 20-61-21 record with a 4.17 goals-against average.

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