Trade acquisition Jason Chimera is giving the Capitals plenty of punch

Alex Ovechkin tallies a goal and a career-high four assists as Washington wins easily.
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post staff writer
Sunday, January 17, 2010

When the Washington Capitals traded for Jason Chimera last month, Coach Bruce Boudreau hoped the veteran left wing would add feistiness and, perhaps, chip in occasionally on offense.

But eight games into his tenure, Chimera has exceeded Boudreau's modest expectations in both areas.

"He skates and he goes to the net," Boudreau said. "He's big and he's strong, and he does a lot of power forward stuff you like to see."

Chimera will aim to extend his four-game point streak Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers after the league rescinded the instigator penalty (and an automatic one-game suspension) he received late in Friday's 6-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boudreau's automatic $10,000 fine also was reversed.

Chimera, 30, got off to a slow start as a Capital, recording only one point in his first four games as he coped with the shock of being dealt from Columbus while also adjusting to Boudreau's system and new teammates. But in the past four contests, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Edmonton native has made his presence felt, and in the process, ignited the team's previously dormant third line.

Since being put on a line with center Brendan Morrison and right wing Eric Fehr prior to the Montreal game on Jan. 5, Chimera has been one of the Capitals' most productive forwards, racking up a pair of goals and three assists, including one on Fehr's winner against the Maple Leafs. In fact, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom were the only forwards to produce as many points during that span.

"I told him this morning that he's bringing that [third] line to life," Boudreau said. "They're scoring on a game-to-game basis, and if that could keep up, we'll be pretty solid in the offense department with Semin and [Tomas] Fleischmann on [the second] line and Alex and Nicky" on the top line.

After helping set up Fehr's goal, Chimera didn't record another point on the score sheet Friday. He did, however, manage to score a few more points with teammates and fans after Toronto enforcer Jay Rosehill lined up Capitals rookie John Carlson near the benches late in the third period. Chimera raced over, tossed off his gloves and engaged Rosehill.

The rugged winger received an instigator, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. He also could have been suspended because the instigator was assessed in the final five minutes of the game. But the NHL rescinded the instigator after a review Saturday morning because "this was not a message-sending incident," a league official said.

"The rule was written for when you get a lead and the other team sends out all of its tough guys and tries to send a statement for the next time you play them," Boudreau said.

Chimera, who has never been suspended, maintained that his actions were necessary.

"They were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, looking for something," he said. "I don't fight that often, but I'm not afraid of doing it. I should have done something earlier. Enough was enough. I had to stick up for my teammates."

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