Juneau unveils contract with fellow Cap's assist

August 24, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

BETHESDA -- Washington Capitals center Joe Juneau has a new four-year, $8.2 million contract, but yesterday when he appeared at the news conference to announce it, he was sockless and in a suit and tie borrowed from teammate Pat Peake.

Only his shoes were his own.

Juneau may be a star in the NHL, but when he's home in Pont Rouge, Quebec, he is a casual, ordinary man who loves the outdoors and likes to spend his time in the woods with his father and brother.

So when the call came telling him that he had a new contract with the Capitals and that he had to pack and fly to Washington immediately to sign it and appear at a news conference, Juneau didn't even have a dress shirt handy.

But it's a team game and the Capitals hope Juneau will be handing out a lot of assists to Peake this season. This time it was simply Peake assisting Juneau.

"This contract shows there are going to be demands on me and I'm going to have to produce," said Juneau, 26. "But I'm not going to change from the player I was when I made $250,000. There shouldn't be any difference. Even when I played for no money, I gave my best and I'll continue to give my best."

But there will be a difference. Capitals vice president and general manager David Poile said Juneau is the team's "go-to guy" and that he is expected to score goals as well as hand out assists.

With that thought in mind, Juneau has spent the past three weeks at "Arena Joe Juneau" -- an ice rink named after him by the citizens of Pont Rouge, his hometown. The arena is without ice during the summer, but Juneau has gone there daily and on the rough concrete arena surface, shot 500 pucks a day into a net.

Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld voiced his happiness at having Juneau under contract and said he still is searching for two full-time line mates for the star center.

"We're not satisfied that we've found the right guys yet," Schoenfeld said. "I'm hoping two or four guys will jump up in camp, fight for and win the positions."

Washington will open training camp Sept. 4 with 67 players on the roster, 37 of them forwards.

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