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Caps Alumni Biographies: Did You Know?

Some obscure facts about Washington Capitals Alumni you might not know.

by Washington Capitals @Capitals /

Pierre Bouchard is the son of legendary Hall of Fame Canadiens defenseman Butch Bouchard. The elder Bouchard played on four Cup-winning clubs in his 15-year career while Pierre played for five Cup winners in a dozen NHL seasons.

Denis Dupere was the first player (and one of only two altogether; Chuck Arnason was the other) to play for the Washington Capitals, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies. The Caps and Scouts began NHL play in 1974-75 but the Scouts moved to Colorado for the start of the 1976-77 season.

Archie Henderson holds the distinction of being the first non-goaltender to wear a number higher than 29 for the Capitals. The biggest player in team history (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) at the time, Henderson was issued a goaltender's jersey (No. 31) when he reported for his first NHL duty in December, 1980. It was the only jersey available that would fit the big winger.

Stan Gilbertson recorded the first-ever four-goal game by a Capital on April 6, 1975. The performance came against the Pittsburgh Penguins (a team Gilbertson would later play with) in the final game of the 1974-75 regular season. The Caps downed the Pens 8-4 that day, claiming just their eighth victory in 80 games that season.

Mike Palmateer earned the nickname "The Popcorn Kid" because he ate popcorn before every game. In his first season with the Capitals (1980-81), Palmateer set an NHL record (since broken) for assists by a goaltender with eight.

Gord Lane opened the 1979-80 season as a member of the Washington Capitals and ended it as a member of the Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders. Lane stayed on the Island long enough to participate in each of New York's four consecutive Cup championship teams, a streak that ran through 1983. Lane was the first former Capital ever to have his name etched onto the Cup.

Robert Picard signed with the Capitals after he was drafted with the team's first choice (third overall) in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He later realized he could make more money in the World Hockey Association and signed a five-year deal for $625,000 with the WHA's Quebec Nordiques in Sept., 1977. But the WHA barred Picard from playing with the Nords, realizing that the league would face a lawsuit from the NHL if he suited up. An angry and frustrated Picard said "I'd rather deliver pizzas in Quebec City" than play hockey in Washington. A few days later he reported for his first Capitals training camp.

Nelson Pyatt was the first Capitals player to score as many as 25 goals in a season (1975-76). He is also the father of current NHL player Taylor Pyatt of the Buffalo Sabres.

Tom Rowe scored his first NHL goal on his first shift of his first NHL game. A Massachusetts boy, Rowe turned the trick against the Bruins in Boston Garden, beating future Hall of Famer Gerry Cheevers. In 1978-79, Rowe scored 31 goals for the Capitals and became the first American-born NHL player to reach the 30-goal plateau.

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