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Chimera: Lockout 'would seem pretty dumb'

Chimera: Lockout 'would seem pretty dumb'

Capitals left wing Jason Chimera knows what its like to lose an entire season of hockey. He was a member of the Edmonton Oilers during the 2004-05 NHL lockout and opted to play in Italy for 15 games.

Back then Chimera saw the writing on the wall. The leagues owners refused to move off their demand for a salary cap, the players boldly called their bluff, and an entire season was lost.

This time around Chimera is more optimistic about the labor talks between the NHL and its players.

I think things are different this time around, Chimera told Slam Sports. The lines of communication are definitely open.

I was in New York for one of the meetings and it was pretty cordial. Everyone was talking about things and no one was up in arms and saying things like, Im not talking to you again until you propose this, which is good. Theyre talking about the little things too, which means when it all comes into place that itll happen a little bit quicker.

Negotiations between the two sides took an interesting turn on Wednesday when commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly spent two hours with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and his brother, Steve Fehr, before postponing formal negotiations until Thursday.

I think more than anything else it was to review where we are in the process, where weve come from, where we are with the various proposals and to determine how to move the process forward in the best way possible hoping and understanding that both sides are committed to using the time left to making a deal as quickly as possible, Daly told The Canadian Press.

The deadline for a new agreement is Sept. 15, one day before the start of training camps.

The owners and players have exchanged proposals that are centered around how 3.3 billion in annual revenue should be divided.

You look at the revenue that the league has made, Chimera said. It would seem pretty dumb to have a lockout now.

The owners have asked the players to reduce their share from 57 percent to 46 percent, while the players have presented a formula in which big-market teams offer more assistance to small-market teams.

I thought our proposal, which I was involved a bit with, was pretty good, Chimer said. We proposed revenue sharing and ways that the league could fix some of the problems that they say they have as we go along.

Chimera said there is far more at stake than billionaire owners and millionaire players getting richer.

I know its tough for fans to take sides in this when people are basically fighting over money. I know its tough for fans to see that, Chimera said.

What everyone has to remember its not just our livelihoods that are just on the line, its the people that work at the arenas and people that work around the game. Theres a lot of livelihoods at stake and I think the players and the owners have to take that into consideration, too.

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This Caps Stanley Cup tat has everyone's beat

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Twitter/@PeachOmania

This Caps Stanley Cup tat has everyone's beat

Since the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time over one month ago, Caps fans, (and players), have rushed to their local tattoo parlor to get some ink commemorating the win.

We've seen the classic Capitals logo with the Stanley Cup, but nothing that comes close to the masterpiece that is Shane Peacher's tattoo.

Peacher tweeted to Joe B and Courtney Laughlin the finished tat: a work of art featuring Alex Ovechkin kissing the Stanley Cup for the first time as it's hoisted over his head.

Joe B replied making sure Shane had enough room on his other tricep for next year.

Shane replied that he's thinking of Evgeny Kuznetsov's iconic celebration that has since been dubbed the "birdman."

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?
Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?
Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy?

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Key Caps questions: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing long-term?

Key Caps questions: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing long-term?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing a long-term contract?

Tarik: When a player has a career year and it coincides with the final year of his contract, the reaction from some fans and media is often a sarcastic, ‘Well, of course he did.’

And I’m sure there are some folks who wonder about Carlson’s breakout season and whether there was a connection between the uptick in his production and the potential of an enormous payday.

Indeed, the 28-year-old established highs in goals (15), assists (53), points (68) and ice time (24:47). He was outstanding in the postseason, too, amassing five goals and 15 assists while playing solidly in his own end to help lead the Caps to their first championship.

The financial reward came a couple of weeks later when he signed an eight-year, $64 million contract to remain in Washington.

Which brings us to today’s question.

It’s obviously impossible to say for sure what’s going to happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had another big season. Why? A few reasons:

  • As good as he was, last year wasn’t a total outlier, either. Carlson racked up 55 points (12 goals, 43 assists) in 2014-15, which was tied for fifth best among blue liners that year.
  • He was at his best last season skating with trade deadline addition Michal Kempny. Kempny, of course, also re-upped, agreeing to a four-year extension. So, in theory, Carlson should be able to pick up where he left off.
  • Carlson has credited Todd Reirden with helping him take his game to new heights. Well, Reirden is now the guy in charge of the whole operation. How could that not help?
  • A major reason Carlson puts up so many points is his role on the power play. And that unit, which really hit its stride in the postseason (29.3-percent), returns all five skaters.
  • Carlson has also been pretty durable, which is critical to being productive. In fact, last season he skated in all of the Caps’ games for the sixth time in eight full-time seasons.

So, yeah, it’s all setting up nicely for Carlson to have a strong 2018-19.

To me, the only unknown is whether he’ll have the same hunger and determination now that he’s got long-term security and that previously elusive championship ring.

Again, that’s impossible to predict. But I can tell you this: Over the course of two decades in this business, I’ve covered lots of players who inked life-changing contracts. With a few of them, I had immediate concerns.

I have no such reservations about Carlson's ability to play up to his new deal, particularly in the first several seasons of it.

JJ: There's nothing wrong with a player being motivated by a new deal, but I am always wary when players have career years on the last year of their contract.

The issue is whether or not a player can continue to play at the level they showed when a new contract is no longer a motivating factor. After signing a new deal for eight years and $64 million, Carlson won't have to think about money or contracts for a long time.

When it comes to motivation, a lot of the questions surrounding the Capitals this year will depend on how they react to winning the Cup. Of course everyone wants to repeat, but psychologically will they come into camp more motivated than ever to defend their title or will they be satisfied with finally winning it all?

For Carlson, there are several reasons to be hopeful. Tarik went over a number of those reasons above, but the two biggest for me are Michal Kempny and Todd Reirden.

This season, Carlson will have Kempny as his partner to start, rather than a cycle of practically every left-handed defenseman on the ice depending on the situation. Second, what Mitch Korn is to goalies, Reirden is to defensemen. With him as the head coach, I believe the ceiling for Carlson will only continue to climb.

Let's also go beyond the numbers. Matt Niskanen suffered an injury early last season that forced Carlson into a primary role on both ends of the ice. He was playing nearly 30 minutes a night and, with two rookies on the blue line who Barry Trotz did everything he could to shelter, those were very hard minutes. Yet, Carlson excelled. The offensive upside was always there, but the way he played defensively was a revelation.

While Dmitry Orlov and Niskanen will remain a solid pair for the Caps, I believe Carlson will be the guy heading into the season which will mean more minutes and more responsibility.

Plus, despite what he meant to the team's defense and despite leading all defensemen in points with 68, Carlson was not selected to participate in the All-Star Game, he was not one of the three finalists for the Norris Trophy and he was not among the four defensemen named to the end of season All-Star team. His incredible season earned him no recognition at all other than his new contract. A $64 million contract is a heck of a consolation prize, but his season deserved more recognition than that.

You don't often see a player of his caliber enter a season with a chip on his shoulder, but Carlson should have a fairly sizable one.

Other key questions

How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?
Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?
Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy?
Has Evgeny Kuznetsov made the jump from really good player to superstar?