For a few Capitals, practice is better than not playing

March 17, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- After breaking a three-game losing streak with Tuesday's 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals held an optional practice yesterday.

Among the seven players at practice were left wing Dimitri Khristich, whom the Capitals are counting on to regain his scoring touch, and right wing Alan May, who says he is working to keep his career alive.

Through the first two-thirds of this season, Khristich was the Capitals' most consistent player.

His 26 goals still lead the team, but he has just one goal in the past 12 games.

Washington, which plays in Dallas tomorrow night, is 4-5-3 during that stretch.

"I don't know why I've stopped scoring," Khristich said. "I came to practice, because I wanted to shoot the puck, to remind myself how it feels to score a goal."

Khristich didn't play much in Washington's victory at Pittsburgh, but he did contribute an assist on a goal by Dale Hunter before being benched in the third period.

"I'd fix my problem if I could," Khristich said. "But I don't think it's one thing, but some little things I have to put together. Hockey is fun, and it is also hard work. Lately, I haven't been having the fun, that's why I'm out here sticking around."

At least he's playing. May has played in 43 of Washington's 70 games, missing 12 because of a broken hand. Although his hand has healed, he has not played in the team's past four games.

"I'm doing the same things I did to get here," May said. "I'm energetic. I stay positive. I know my career's not over. People never gave me a chance when I started, and sometimes people may not be giving me a chance now, but I know I'll prevail.

"To me, it's obvious what's going on," May said. "I think a decision was made before the season. I don't know who made it, but I didn't have good rapport with the coach from Day One."

Schoenfeld said he made the decision to use veteran Dave Poulin, who provides depth on the penalty-killing unit.

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