1 goalie's Capital gain taxes other Hrivnak rises, Beaupre struggles

December 03, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals had gone on the ice at Piney Orchard for the morning workout yesterday, and, while the rest of the Caps loosened up by swatting the puck, goalies Don Beaupre and Jim Hrivnak skated side-by-side around the rink, discussing the art of tending goal.

"Donnie and I get along great," said Hrivnak, who has pressured Beaupre and gained more playing time. "I have so much respect for him. He came into the NHL when he was 19 years old, and he helps me out all the time. In every game, he gives me advice on how to play the game better."

And Hrivnak is playing better. The rookie is outplaying 13-year veteran Beaupre. Hrivnak is 8-3-1 with a 2.79 goals-against average. Beaupre has struggled through a 3-10-1 start with a 3.69 GAA and just now seems to be finding his groove.

"I don't really know what to say to Donnie," Hrivnak said. "He's played in about 400 games [490 actually] in his career, and I've played in about 50 [45]. I just say little things to support him here and there. There's not much I can say. He'll turn it around."

Beaupre is coming off a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings Monday, but, at 31, he is a realist.

"Jimmy is taking charge, and management has to be ecstatic," said Beaupre. "And it's up to Terry [Murray, coach] to decide who plays. It's up to management to make the decision: Do they want to go with the young guy and phase the old guy out, or go with experience and ease the young guy in if we're both playing well? Either way, you can't get mad at Jimmy.

"You hope at 31 you're not coming to the end, but it always happens eventually. I got to play in Minnesota because they wanted a young guy."

Beaupre said he can't remember the last time his record was 3-10-1, but he can recall a few years ago at an All-Star break, when he told someone he hoped he could climb back to .500.

"I ended up winning 14 straight games," Beaupre said, recalling the 1985-86 season with the Minnesota North Stars, when he earned Comeback Player of the Year from the Hockey News and set a club record for consecutive victories that still stands. "I know when things look their worst they can turn around. That seems to be happening now, but it'll take another few games to know for sure."

Murray said yesterday he has not determined who will be in goal for games with the New York Rangers at the Capital Centre tomorrow and at the New York Islanders Saturday. But he did say Beaupre is back to being something of his old self.

But, Murray added, that doesn't mean the pressure is off.

"Competition is the greatest thing that was ever invented," said Murray after yesterday's practice. "I think we've got a very healthy situation."

And no one is complaining. Both goalies say they could live with alternating games.

"I've been pretty frustrated the last few years," said Hrivnak. "Now, I'm playing well. I'm 24. . . . Donnie is the No. 1 goalie, and, if I have to sit for a while, at least I can look at my record and know I've played well while I wait my turn. But I wouldn't mind. . . . A day off doesn't hurt."

"I'm happy to see Jimmy developing," Beaupre said. "He has risen to the occasion. When you look around the room now, there is no doubt you can see the confidence the team has in him."

Beaupre also could see the reverse beginning to take hold when he played. The club would play defensively around him.

"You start to worry, 'Is that the feeling you're giving off to the team?' " he said. "It wasn't that there were a lot of negative things being said. But there were a lot of little things, like when you're up a couple goals guys sit back. You want them to keep going, but if they're not confident in you, they hang back and try to protect you and the goal."

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