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Chimera latest Cap to flee to Europe

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Chimera latest Cap to flee to Europe

From the very start of the NHL lockout, Capitals forward Jason Chimera was the backbone of the stay-at-home coalition.

He organized and collected money for the daily ice rentals at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. He helped round up players to participate in workouts at a local Gold’s Gym.

And for 60 days he resisted the urge to sign with a team overseas, saying he preferred to stay home with his wife and two children while stating his strong opinions on the NHL’s work stoppage.

That all changed this week when Chimera agreed to an open-ended contract to play for HC Chomutov in the Czech Extraliga.

Chimera, 33, will be reunited with former Caps teammate, defenseman Milan Jurcina. Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik. Both are natives of the Czech Republic.

Chimera is the seventh Capitals player to sign overseas and will  have the chance to face Caps teammate Michal Neuvirth, who is playing for HC Sparta Praha of the Czech League. Other Caps playing in Europe are Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom [KHL], Brooks Laich [Switzerland] and Wojtek Wolski [Poland] and Marcus Johansson [Sweden].

Several times in the past two months Chimera has voiced his opinions on the lockout, saying:

“It’s up to the owners. They keep saying we need to come back with a proposal. It seems like we’re the only ones making concessions right now.”

And …

“Its tough for the regular fan to get into it because it’s billionaires against millionaires. But ultimately they want to take 17 percent off our paychecks and they won’t back down from that. We’ve made proposals in their direction every time.”

And …

“The players are pretty unified. I don’t know if Gary [Bettman] thinks a lockout is another tool to help him. He’s the only guys in sports who seems to like lockouts.”

 

 

 

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Wild

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Wild

Think the Caps missed Tom Wilson? It sure looked like it.

Washington looked like a completely different team with Wilson back in the lineup Tuesday in a dominant 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Here are four reasons the Caps won:

Tom Wilson

Wilson made his season debut Tuesday after his suspension was reduced by a neutral arbitrator earlier in the day. Wilson’s addition to the lineup had two effects. One, it made the lineup a lot deeper. Without Wilson, Todd Reirden was having trouble putting together the right lineup. Several players cycled on the top line and every line behind the top had to shuffle. Wilson came back onto the top line and immediately the rest of the lineup fell into place.

The top line looked better, the second line looked better and the third line looked better with their regular lineups back intact.

Wilson’s return also brought a lot of energy to the team and that was evident from the very start of the game. The Caps outshot Minnesota 12-6 and took the 2-0 lead in the first period of the game. Compare that to the rather lethargic game we saw on Sunday, clearly, Wilson brought a spark.

Oh, yeah, Wilson has also had a pretty darn good game too. He scored in the first period of the game in a typical Wilson play. He completely blew past Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter and tipped in a pass from Dmitry Orlov as he crashed the net on goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Somehow Wilson was also given a goalie interference penalty… but the goal still counted? Regardless of what was an obvious reputation penalty, it was a good return for Wilson, who also had a fight with Marcus Foligno and helped set up Orlov’s second goal by crashing again and drawing the defense over to him.

Dmitry Orlov

Orlov broke a 19-game goal drought with a goal just 7:23 into the game.

Lars Eller had the puck and cut to the blue line in the offensive zone turning to the middle. Minnesota got caught puck watching as the defense shifted with Eller, leaving Orlov open on the left. Eller found him and Orlov took advantage of the extra space to score his first goal of the season.

Orlov would add an assist on Wilson’s goal and a second goal in the third period off a beautiful pass from Alex Ovechkin.

The typically reliable defensive pairing of Orlov and Matt Niskanen struggled at the start of the season prompting Todd Reirden to switch up the pairs and place Orlov with John Carlson. Clearly, the move had the desired effect in Tuesday’s game.

The schedule

Tuesday’s game was the Wild’s first at home since Oct. 27. Minnesota was coming off a seven-game road swing and they looked a bit weary at the start of the game. As mentioned above, the Wild were outshot 12-6 in the first period and then 15-8 in the second.

Really, this game was a perfect storm. Not only were the Wild tired from a lengthy road trip, but they also were dealing with a Caps team that was pumped up by the return of Wilson.

Part of what made Sunday’s loss to Arizona so disappointing was the fact that the Coyotes were on the second leg of a back-to-back with their starting goalie on IR. The Caps were not able to take advantage, but they certainly took it to a vulnerable, road-weary team on Tuesday.

The penalty kill

Washington’s porous penalty kill was the reason the Caps lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday and a major reason they fell to Arizona. The PK finally stood tall on Tuesday as the Caps were able to kill off four out of five penalties on the night. The lone power play goal the team gave up came in the third period when the Caps were already up 5-1 and the game was no longer in doubt.

You can add the penalty kill to the long list of things that Wilson instantly improved in his return. Wilson logged 16:47 of total ice time on Tuesday and 5:23 of that came on the penalty kill.

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Tom Wilson gets a goal and a penalty on the same play

Tom Wilson gets a goal and a penalty on the same play

It took just one period into his first game of the season for Tom Wilson to score a goal. Unfortunately, it also took him just one period to get a reputation penalty called against him.

And somehow, they both happened on the same play.

In a very “this could only happen to Wilson” moment, Wilson crashed the net in the first period of Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Wild looking for a tip-in on a pass from Dmitry Orlov. He is engaged by defenseman Ryan Suter from behind on the play. Wilson gets his stick on the ice to tip it in for the goal but is pushed into goalie Devan Dubnyk which knocks the netminder’s helmet off and left him down on the ice for several moments.

So now, if you’re the referee, you have a call to make. Either Wilson was pushed into Dubynk meaning the play is legal and the goal counts or Wilson is guilty of crashing into the goalie and guilty of goalie interference which would negate the goal and possibly give Wilson a two-minute minor.

The referees went with Option C: All of the above.

The goal counted, but Wilson was also given a two-minute minor for goalie interference.

Tuesday’s game is Wilson’s first of the season after a neutral arbitrator reduced his 20-game suspension. The image of Wilson celebrating a goal over a sprawled goalie will likely cause some grumbling amongst the Wilson detractors.

It should be noted, however, that Minnesota did not challenge the goal for goalie interference and the goal was allowed to stand. You have to think that if Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau thought he had a chance of getting that goal overturned, he would have taken it.

Instead, Wilson was given the goal...and somehow the penalty for goalie interference on the same play.

Only Tom Wilson.

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