Capitals trying to oblige Hatcher's trade request

September 30, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

Washington Capitals general manager David Poile said yesterday that Kevin Hatcher will not return to the team, and that he is making every effort to trade the defenseman.

"In a conversation I had with Kevin three weeks ago, it became apparent the issue was not money," said Poile. "He simply didn't want to play here anymore. He wasn't happy. He felt he was not getting the support he deserved from management, to some extent, and from the fans."

Hatcher was the Capitals' No. 1 draft choice in 1984 and has been a mainstay on defense for nine seasons. A three-time All-Star, he was named team captain during the 1992-93 season when longtime defenseman Rod Langway was eased out of the lineup.

Calls to Hatcher's Detroit home last night went unanswered.

Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld said Dale Hunter will assume Hatcher's duties as team captain and Kelly Miller and Sylvain Cote will be assistant captains.

Schoenfeld also established a core group -- Dave Poulin, Calle Johansson, Craig Berube, Michal Pivonka and Joe Reekie -- who will be consulted on team and player issues.

"We've made a decision to change our team leadership," said Poile. "I guess that's a step forward. For the coach and players, it's great. They now know that Kevin isn't coming back and that the team that's here is our team."

Poile said he pondered Hatcher's trade request for several weeks before deciding to oblige him.

He said the team feels "very comfortable that we've made him a very generous and fair offer and that now my efforts will be directed at making a trade." But, Poile added, it will not be a quick process. The club is determined to get equal value for Hatcher.

Poile has said Washington's offer was between $2.5 million and $2.6 million per year, which would have made Hatcher the team's highest-paid player. But, Poile said, Hatcher was asking for about $750,000 more than the team's offer.

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