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Capitals breakdown: Jason Chimera


Capitals breakdown: Jason Chimera Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Jason: Chimera
Jason ChimeraPosition: Left Wing
Age: 33
HtWt: 6-3, 213
Games: 82
Goals: 20
Assists: 19
Points: 39
Penalty minutes: 78
Plus-Minus: Plus-4
Average Ice Time: 14:25
Contract Status: 2 years, 3.5 million 1.75 million cap hit in 2012-13
Strengths: Even at 33 Chimera is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and he used that asset to record a career-high 20 goals and 39 points this season. He also finished second on the club in playoff goals with four while averaging an economical 13:42 in ice time. Chimera is willing to drop his gloves for his teammates and his speed allows him to get on the forecheck quickly, where he can deliver punishing checks on unsuspecting defensemen.

Weaknesses: In nine NHL seasons Chimera has lacked a finishing touch and has been a defensive liability with a career plus-minus rating of minus-18. Under Dale Hunter, Chimera showed he can be effective at both ends of the rink, finishing this season with a plus-4 rating.

Memorable Moment on the ice: In Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals against the Rangers, Chimera whacked a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist for what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory that forced a decisive Game 7 in New York. It doesnt matter how far out they are, Chimera said of his fourth playoff goal, which came from about a foot from the net. It sounds corny, but thats where youve got to score goals in the playoffs and youll find me there.

Memorable Moment off the ice: When the first-round series between the Capitals and Bruins turned nasty, Chimera rattled off a series of memorable quotes that included this indictment of goaltender Tim Thomas, who protected his crease by shoving his blocker into the face of Nicklas Backstrom in Game 2: I dont read the rule book every night, its not like its my bible, he said. But its certainly there. It says right there that if you use your blocker as a weapon, its a match penalty. Thats just cut and dry. I mean, thats what it is, and I dont know how he keeps getting away with that stuff.

2012-13 Expectations: Chimera is a strong and vocal leader in the locker room, unafraid to challenge Alex Ovechkin when he feels its necessary. That voice will be needed again next season and if he can chip in with another 20 goals as a second- or third-line winger the Capitals would be happy to take it.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

USA Today Sports

Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

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Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

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Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

Braden Holtby has made Barry Trotz’s weekend very difficult, but in a good way.

Back-to-back games against the New York Islanders offered the Capitals an opportunity to play both Philipp Grubauer and Holtby. Grubauer stayed hot earning another win for Washington. On Friday, Holtby got his first start since March 6 and played very well.

“A win is good,” Holtby said after the game. “I felt pretty comfortable. Some things to build off of and things that I want to get better at. It was a step in the right direction.”


A 22 save effort on Friday was bookended by two big saves. The first shot Holtby faced was a turnover on the power play that led to a dangerous shorthanded scoring opportunity for John Tavares early in the first period. Then in the third, with the Capitals leading 5-3 and the Islanders trying to mount a comeback, Holtby turned aside a breakaway opportunity for star rookie Mathew Barzal.

“I thought he was pretty solid,” Trotz said. “He looked really confident.”

“I felt a lot better,” Holtby said. “Not that I was feeling horrible before, it's just you get refreshed. It's like anything, you have a week off work, a holiday or something, you come back a little refreshed.”

And that brings us to Sunday.

On Sunday, the Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are a team in playoff position in desperate need of points after seven of their last eight games.

When asked on Wednesday who he thought would start Sunday’s game, Trotz said, “We're in a result business and we need some results so we'll see who is looking the sharpest and gives us the best chance to win.”

Both Grubauer and Holtby were impressive in their starts over the Islanders. You can’t argue Holtby is suddenly the hotter hand after one win considering how well Grubauer has played of late, but if Holtby remaisn the team’s No. 1, shouldn’t he get the next start after a strong winning performance?


Trotz was asked after the game who would start on Sunday after Holtby’s win.

“They're both playing well so I can't even answer that right now to be honest with you,” he said. “I do know that we have a number of games this week and whatever way go, obviously I'm going to sit down with the coaches and whatever way we go, I think they're both going to get some time this week.”

“I think you have to take it game-by-game,” Trotz added. “Bottom line is that you've got to make a decision and go with it and if your decision is that goalie A is a little hotter or you've just got a gut feel then you go with it and you have to live with it good or bad.”

So for now, it sounds as if we will see a rotation in net as Trotz continues evaluating which netminder gives the team the best chance to win in the playoffs. It is a tough position for the Caps’ bench boss, but, if both goalies continue to perform, having to choose between a hot Grubauer and a resurgent Holtby is a good problem to have and much preferable to having to choose between backup Grubauer and slumping Holtby.

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