Numerous Capitals players held court with members of the Washington and Boston media Wednesday, but perhaps no one sounded off on as many topics as candidly as Jason Chimera.
The veteran winger touched on everything from the consistency of match penalties, Nicklas Backstrom’s right to defend himself, his penalty against Brad Marchand and the Capitals’ toughness in the face of the Bruins. Check out some of the highlights of what Chimera had to say.
— Match penalties aren’t something that occur every day in the NHL, but one clause that is spelled out fairly clearly in the rulebook is if a goaltender uses his blocker as a weapon. As everyone remembers, Tim Thomas punched Backstrom in the face with his blocker in Game 2. (As has been noted elsewhere, Chimera is well acquainted with Thomas’s blocker.)
“I don’t read the rulebook every night. It’s not like it’s my bible. But it’s certainly there,” Chimera said. “It says right there. If you use your blocker as a weapon, it’s a match penalty. That’s just cut and dry. I mean, that’s what it is, and I don’t know how he keeps getting away with that stuff.”
— Chimera concurred with Coach Dale Hunter’s assessment that the Bruins have been targeting Backstrom’s head. While he couldn’t defend Backstrom cross checking another player to the face, Chimera said he understands that Washington’s top center has every right to defend himself.
“He shouldn’t have done that, and I think he knows that himself,” Chimera said of the cross check against Rich Peverley. “But you continually get cross checked, get punched in the head, get blockered in the head, and you’ve got to protect yourself. That’s what he’s been doing. You don’t want to – if you get a second concussion, you’re out for any length of time. Who knows how long? It might end his career, so he doesn’t want to get that. Guys have been taking liberties with his head, and I don’t know what – you’ve got to watch for it. I think the refs watch for it, but I think it happens every scrum. I think someone’s at his head.
“I mean, someone’s going after your head, you’ve going to try to protect yourself, aren’t you?” Chimera added. “You just don’t want to stand there with your head and have someone keep on whacking at it.”
— Early in the third period of Game 3, Chimera was sent to the box for slashing noted Bruins pest Brad Marchand in the groin. Marchand didn’t take kindly to the jab below the belt and Chimera admitted it wasn’t the wisest penalty for him to take.
“We did some stupid stuff last game that you can’t do. I mean, we can’t take stupid penalties. Mine was a stupid penalty. You can’t do that,” he said. “No matter how much Marchand’s diving and stuff like that, is embellishing a bit, but you can’t do stuff like that because it’s going to be called.”
— Playing between the whistles and not allowing the Bruins to rile them up after a play is a focal point for the Washington players heading into Game 4. While much has been made about Boston’s grittiness and toughness, Chimera didn’t hesitate to say the Capitals can hang with anyone and whatever physicality they dish out.
“Yeah, I mean, we’re not a [wimpy] team, or however you want to call it,” Chimera said. “W got guys that can drop the gloves and are not scared to drop the gloves. It’s not that factor. We don’t want to lose guys for five minutes in the box, or for any length of time. Guys can play the game, too. We don’t want to get caught up in that. We don’t need to prove we’re tough to anybody.”
More on the Capitals:
— It’s gloves off in the NHL as playoffs turn violent
— Wise: NHL fails to control intimidation tactics
— Capitals, Bruins exchange verbal barbs