On the ice, Capitals left wing Jason Chimera is known as the Ice Cheetah, a 37-year-old speedster who defies his own birth certificate.
Off the ice, Chimera is by far the loudest and often most unpredictable voice in the Capitals’ locker room.
Playing out the final year of his contract in Washington, Chimera gave his thoughts on a variety of topics as he and the Capitals prepared for their win-or-go-home Game 6 Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Here’s what he had to say:
On the Caps’ sense of desperation: “It’s do or die. Urgency should be pretty high. I think guys are ready for it. Guys were ready last game and guys are pretty excited again. We’ve got a good group of guys here and guys willing to battle for each other. … If we lose we’re out. It’s not really hard to get that sense of urgency and willingness to do anything to win one game. You see (Braden Holtby) with some big saves last game and guys diving all over the place. That desperation mode is really what we needed.”
On planting seeds of doubt in the Penguins: “You can always put doubt in people’s minds. They wanted to come in there and win (Game 5) and they’re probably disappointed they didn’t win and now we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves and maybe they’re not.
On players saying before Game 5 that they did not want this season to end: “No one was crying, no. (Maybe) a few tears. Guys want to win for each other. We’ve been through a lot together this year. Our captain (Alex Ovechkin) led the way in that meeting. He said some things and really backed it (up). You don’t want it to end. If we play our best we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
On his future with the Capitals: “I’ve been here a long time (seven seasons) and I wouldn’t expect to be anywhere else next year, too. You want to win with these guys right now and whatever happens next year, happens next year. (Interrupted by kiss on the head by Evgeny Kuznetsov). Guys love each other in here. Kisses all over the place. Usually it’s on the lips. (Laughter). You don’t get on too many teams where you really do enjoy everybody’s company. Everyone enjoys coming to the rink and it’s a fun place to work and when you get that going for you good things happen.”