Exhaustion, not Islanders, is Caps' top 3rd-period foe

Phil Jackman

April 28, 1993|By Phil Jackman

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Judging from the way the Washington Capitals have been skating at the end of their tense confrontations with the New York Islanders throughout the playoffs, the best strategy coach Terry Murray could have used before tonight's Game 6 on Long Island is total bed rest.

Most of the Cap veterans, the guys who night-in and night-out skate full shifts and give it their all, guys named Mike Ridley, Kelly Miller, Dale Hunter, Sylvain Cote and Calle Johansson, have been pushing beyond exhaustion late in third periods and into the ever-present overtimes.

Making matters worse in the last couple of games has been the Capitals leaving a forward line and a defenseman out of the mix during the late going. From the six-minute mark in Monday night, a couple of Caps could barely pick their heads up to see what was happening during faceoffs. Washington isn't an old team, but tonight's contest (7:30 p.m., Channel 20) is the 90th of the season, and we're not talking about three sets of tennis here.

* You can believe all those club-record attendance and sellout figures being bandied about by the Washington Bullets if you want, but 10 will get you 20 they're not the numbers the club will pay on when the state shows up to collect its entertainment taxes.

For instance, the game on blizzard weekend at the Baltimore Arena was called a sellout when it was played before a small gathering on a Monday, because the tickets had been sold. But then they were counted again when fans showed up at the four exchange games. A total of 10,000 tickets were handed out to students recently when the New Jersey Nets were at the Capital Centre. Yes, indeed, another sellout.

Only one of the past seven announced sellouts had a truly packed house, and any Baltimorean who subscribed to the four games here was gifted with four tickets to a selected Capital Centre game. The teams says it sold out 20 games and averaged 13,641 per home game. Maybe.

* Anne Jones, coach of the women's tennis team at Virginia Tech, and her twin sister Lynne Krulich really practice the family togetherness bit. The women began training together a couple of years ago, went through all the qualifying regimen for the Hawaii Ironman event, then swam stroke-for-stroke, biked pedal-for-pedal and ran step-for-step during the entire 140.6 miles in a highly-creditable 15 hours and 36 minutes. And they probably finished as best friends, too.

* With only two girls teams in the entire state of Iowa planning on playing six-on-six basketball next season, another great American institution is ground into the dust. For years, six-on-six ball was an interesting game that drew strong participation because of its diversity. What's the point in becoming a poor imitation of the boys game?

* Speaking of institutions crumbling, Durham's Athletic Park, immortalized in the screen epic "Bull Durham," will be no more after the season, the Class-A Carolina League team moving to new digs.

* The big noise at the WWF show at the Capital Centre Saturday (2 p.m.) is Shawn Michaels taking on Mr. Perfect with the prestigious Intercontinental title on the line. Bet the under. The undercard ain't bad either: Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger, Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Yokozuna, Kamala vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, Bob Backlund vs. Blake Beverly and the Nasty Boys vs. the Head Shrinkers.

* That squeal you just heard is the annual response of the fairer sex to Wimbledon's announcement that nay, nay, a thousand times nay it is not going to pay equal prize money to men and women at The Championships. "We have found that a majority of the public prefer men's tennis," says club chairman John Curry of the rank injustice, in which the ladies champion pockets just $434,500 as opposed to the gentleman's payoff of $481,900. And you thought you had problems.

* Friday's the day, in 1939, Lou Gehrig played his last game. He was 4-for-28 in just eight games and, after 2,130 straight contests, playing had become too much of a chore.

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