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Chimera questions NHL owners' motives

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Chimera questions NHL owners' motives

If Jason Chimera had any hair, he’d probably be pulling it out right about now.

With the NHL lockout now at Day 39, the Capitals’ 33-year-old forward is beginning to wonder if the league’s owners really want to make a deal with the players.

“Maybe they’re looking at the season like an advent calendar – like Christmas is coming and they’re taking their chocolates out one day at a time,” Chimera told CSNWashington.com. “And when the big chocolate comes they make a proposal.”

So what might be that big chocolate? The Winter Classic, maybe?

“I don’t know,” Chimera said. “I hope the big chocolate is an 82-game season. We all want to play an 82-game season. I don’t know if they seriously want that as a group. I hope they want a season because I know [players] are itching to get negotiating and they’re not willing to do anything.”

The source of Chimera’s frustration came Tuesday night when he particpated in a conference call with other NHLPA members. In that teleconference, players were told that the union's efforts to negotiate with the NHL on the “make whole” provision of the NHL’s most recent offer was rejected.

“We’re not willing to accept everything else on their proposal except for that, but we want to discuss other things on their proposal and they said, ‘No way,’” Chimera said.  “They said, ‘Unless you’re willing to accept everything except the make whole….’ That’s not negotiating. You’ve got to give and take. Everything they have on their table are things they’ve taken from us.”

For the record, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has stated that unless the players are willing to come up with a new proposal there’s no sense getting together.
 
“They said they were willing to meet,” Daly told CSNPhilly.com in an email. “But given their position on our proposal and their unwillingness to offer a new one, I’m not sure what we would be meeting about. Back to the drawing board.”
 
In his proposal to save a full 82-game season last week, Bettman set a deadline of Oct. 25 to reach an agreement. That deadline is about to pass without as much as a meeting scheduled. But Chimera is not ruling it out.

“You never know,” he said. “There might be something 11th hour. We want to meet and they don’t want to meet. What can you do? It’s pretty frustrating. As much as they say they want to negotiate they’re on a timeline. It’s just so stupid.

“The best thing that could happen for both parties is for Gary to come to a meeting and say, ‘OK, we’re playing tomorrow, get everyone back. We’re going to hammer this out during the season.’ It’s getting ridiculous.”

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How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

The Capitals look to rebound from an ugly loss with a road game against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. NBC Sports Washington). Washington has lost two games in a row and five of eight. The Predators beat the Capitals 6-3 on Dec. 31 at Capital One Arena and has won five in a row over against them.

Here is what to watch for in tonight’s game:  

1. Back to Holtby

After sustaining an eye injury in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby is expected to play against the Predators. The Capitals did not hold a morning skate on Tuesday after traveling following a 4-1 loss at home Monday to the St. Louis Blues. Holtby started last season’s game in Nashville, a 6-3 loss on Nov. 14, 2017 where he allowed four goals in the second period and was pulled from the game. But Holtby still leads the NHL in even-strength save percentage (.939) since Nov. 4 among goalies who have started at least 13 games and it could be time to get him more consistent work – even with backup Pheonix Copley playing well behind him. Holtby has had his rest. If he’s healthy, it might be time to let him carry the weight for a while. 

2. Another Chance for Burakovsky?

There’s constant talk now about the future of Andre Burakovsky, who returned to the lineup Monday after a two-game absence. Caps coach Todd Reirdan was clear about what Burakovsky had to do to stay in the lineup. We’ll see tonight if that happens. Playing on the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller, Burakovsky played just 10:46 against the Blues and was on the ice for a goal against. But he did have three shots on goal and seemed engaged. Burakovsky has been a healthy scratch in six of the past 16 games. 

3. No. 700 for Oshie

One night after defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 1000th career game, forward T.J. Oshie will reach a milestone of his own with game No. 700. Oshie has been kept off the score sheet the past two games, but had two goals in a Jan. 8 game against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

4. Powering Up

Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal in the loss to St. Louis on Monday might mean the Capitals are coming around in that area. A struggle for weeks, they at least now have two goals on the man advantage in the past four games. But they have slipped all the way to 14thin the NHL (21.2 percent) so there is work left to be done.

Monday’s game featured much better puck movement by the top unit.   

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How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

The Capitals look to rebound from an ugly loss with a road game against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. NBC Sports Washington). Washington has lost two games in a row and five of eight. The Predators beat the Capitals 6-3 on Dec. 31 at Capital One Arena and has won five in a row over against them. Here is what to watch for in tonight’s game:   

1. Back to Holtby

After sustaining an eye injury in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby is expected to play against the Predators. The Capitals did not hold a morning skate on Tuesday after traveling following a 4-1 loss at home Monday to the St. Louis Blues. Holtby started last season’s game in Nashville, a 6-3 loss on Nov. 14, 2017 where he allowed four goals in the second period and was pulled from the game. But Holtby still leads the NHL in even-strength save percentage (.939) since Nov. 4 among goalies who have started at least 13 games and it could be time to get him more consistent work – even with backup Pheonix Copley playing well behind him. Holtby has had his rest. If he’s healthy, it might be time to let him carry the weight for a while.  2.Another Chance for Burakovsky?There’s constant talk now about the future of Andre Burakovsky, who returned to the lineup Monday after a two-game absence. Caps coach Todd Reirdan was clear about what Burakovsky had to do to stay in the lineup. We’ll see tonight if that happens. Playing on the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller, Burakovsky played just 10:46 against the Blues and was on the ice for a goal against. But he did have three shots on goal and seemed engaged. Burakovsky has been a healthy scratch in six of the past 16 games.  3. No. 700 for OshieOne night after defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 1000th career game, forward T.J. Oshie will reach a milestone of his own with game No. 700. Oshie has been kept off the score sheet the past two games, but had two goals in a Jan. 8 game against the Philadelphia Flyers.  4. Powering UpAlex Ovechkin’s power-play goal in the loss to St. Louis on Monday might mean the Capitals are coming around in that area. A struggle for weeks, they at least now have two goals on the man advantage in the past four games. But they have slipped all the way to 14thin the NHL (21.2 percent) so there is work left to be done. Monday’s game featured much better puck movement by the top unit.    

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