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Chimera questions NHL owners' motives


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 “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 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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4 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning to win the Eastern Conference

4 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning to win the Eastern Conference

The Capitals dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in Game 7 on Wednesday to claim the conference crown and a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. Washington took an early lead and never looked back.

Here is how they bucked their Game 7 history to win.

62 seconds

The last time these two teams met in Tampa, the Lightning struck just 19 seconds into the game and it set the tone for the entire contest. This time, it was the Caps who struck early.

A big hit by Tom Wilson in the neutral zone created a turnover that started the rush for the Caps. Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Ovechkin for the one-timer and he fired it past Vasilevskiy just 62 seconds into the game.

Andre Burakovsky’s big night

Injury limited Burakovsky to just 56 games this season. He suffered another injury in Game 2 of the first round and did not return until Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. He was a healthy scratch in Game 5 and was talking about talking to a sports psychologist over the summer. He had not recorded a point this postseason heading into Wednesday game.

And somehow, he rattled off two goals to lead the Capitals.

The start of the second period was all Tampa Bay. The Lightning were dictating the play and buzzing around Braden Holtby. They outshot the Caps 8-1 to start the frame, but Burakovsky got the momentum right back as he stole the puck away from Dan Girardi and fired a beautiful shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy. John Carlson sprung him on a breakaway later in the second period which he put through the five-hole of Vasilevskiy for his second goal of the game.

Braden Holtby is suddenly unbeatable

The last goal Holtby allowed was 33 seconds into the second period…of Game 5. After not recording a single shutout at all this season, he blanked the Lightning in both Game 6 and Game 7 for back-to-back shutouts.

The Lightning had their opportunities. They pushed and pushed hard all game long, especially in the second period as they recorded eight of the first nine shots on goal of the period.

It didn’t matter.

Holtby was up to the task as he dominated the Lightning yet again, even turning aside a breakaway from Alex Killorn to keep the clean sheet. He made 60 straight saves and did not allow a goal for 159:27. This is just the fifth time in NHL history a goalie recorded a shutout in both Game 6 and Game 7 of a playoff series.

Team defense

The Lightning had their chances, but they were frustrated all night long by the all-in defense the Caps played. As good as Holtby was, he let up a lot of juicy rebounds early on. But Tampa Bay could not get a stick to any of them because the Caps defense beat them to the puck all game long.

The Caps recorded 15 blocked shots in the game. Devante Smith-Pelly took a shot block off the back of the neck, T.J. Oshie took one off the boot.

This team was all-in all night long and it frustrated what was the league’s top offense.

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Did Bryce Harper predict the Caps-Knights Stanley Cup Final?


Did Bryce Harper predict the Caps-Knights Stanley Cup Final?

On May 1, the Capitals were in the middle of their second-round series vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Everyone was skeptical about whether or not they'd be able to overcome the looming second-round hump. 

Everyone except Bryce Harper that is.

On May 1, Harper tweeted this: 

Moments after the Caps' Game 7 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Eastern Conference, earning a date with the Vegas Golden Knights, fans remembered Harper's prescient tweet.

Harper is a Las Vegas native and has been an outspoken Knights supporter since the beginning of the season.

However, as one of D.C.'s most beloved athletes, it's tough to imagine a scenario in which he roots against the Caps in a series that's so monumental for the entire city.

He hasn't announced which team he's pulling for yet, but regardless of who wins the Cup Bryce Harper will end up pretty happy.