Capitals’ new addition brings energy

The newest member of the Washington Capitals knew he was joining

one of the elite teams in the NHL, but he probably didn’t expect to

spend his first practice with the club on a line with two of the

most talented players in the league.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau put Jason Chimera on a line with

Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin for his first workout since

being traded from Columbus for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina on

Monday.

“Knowing me, it is a trial and error thing,” Boudreau told

reporters after practice. “We’ll put him someplace and if it

doesn’t work after one period, we will put him somewhere else. But

he’s going to play, and we’re looking for big things from him.”

Added Chimera: “It was pretty fun playing with those guys,

even if it is just for a practice. There are a lot of highly

skilled guys on this team, and I can’t wait to get going with

them.”

Chimera is expected to help the Caps with his size, skating

ability and physical play. Still, Boudreau putting him with the

second line in his revamped lineup shows Washington will be

counting on his offensive ability as well.

Eleven players have scored at least 60 goals and logged at

least 360 penalty minutes since the lockout wiped out the 2004-05

season. Chimera is one of the eight forwards on a list that

includes some of the top power forwards in the league.

“Obviously when you first make it [to the NHL], you’re an

energy guy, and I fought quite a bit the first couple years I

played. You’ve got to get yourself in the lineup and do what it

takes,” Chimera said. “I am still an energy kind of guy who plays

up-tempo and is a good forechecker. I think I can score some goals,

too, when called upon. Hopefully I can bring that here.”

Chimera will make his debut in a Caps uniform Wednesday night

at San Jose. The past two days have been a bit of a whirlwind for

him. After learning of the trade Monday afternoon, he packed some

belongings and flew to the District. He had just enough time to

pass a physical and catch a ride to Dulles Airport with Brooks

Laich for a cross-country flight.

It may take Chimera a couple of days to settle back into his

normal routine.

“A couple of the guys asked me if I wanted to go out, but I

kind of just want to stay in my hotel room and sleep,” he said. “It

was definitely a shock to be traded, but it is good to be out on

the road for a few days to get to know the guys.”

While Chimera has fought less as his NHL career has

progressed, Caps fans probably know him best as the guy who gave

Alex Ovechkin a little nudge near the team’s bench last month.

Ovechkin was injured in the ensuing fracas.

After completing the trade, general manager George McPhee

joked that Ovechkin and Chimera could “scrap” Tuesday at practice

to work out their differences. Both parties decided that was

unnecessary.

“[Ovechkin] joked about it,” Chimera said. “I told him I hope

he isn’t mad at me, but then he said he’s not even sure how he was

hurt. There were a lot of guys involved in that.”