From the very start of the NHL lockout, Capitals forward Jason Chimera was the backbone of the stay-at-home coalition.
He organized and collected money for the daily ice rentals at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. He helped round up players to participate in workouts at a local Gold’s Gym.
And for 60 days he resisted the urge to sign with a team overseas, saying he preferred to stay home with his wife and two children while stating his strong opinions on the NHL’s work stoppage.
That all changed this week when Chimera agreed to an open-ended contract to play for HC Chomutov in the Czech Extraliga.
Chimera, 33, will be reunited with former Caps teammate, defenseman Milan Jurcina. Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik. Both are natives of the Czech Republic.
Chimera is the seventh Capitals player to sign overseas and will have the chance to face Caps teammate Michal Neuvirth, who is playing for HC Sparta Praha of the Czech League. Other Caps playing in Europe are Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom [KHL], Brooks Laich [Switzerland] and Wojtek Wolski [Poland] and Marcus Johansson [Sweden].
Several times in the past two months Chimera has voiced his opinions on the lockout, saying:
“It’s up to the owners. They keep saying we need to come back with a proposal. It seems like we’re the only ones making concessions right now.”
“Its tough for the regular fan to get into it because it’s billionaires against millionaires. But ultimately they want to take 17 percent off our paychecks and they won’t back down from that. We’ve made proposals in their direction every time.”
“The players are pretty unified. I don’t know if Gary [Bettman] thinks a lockout is another tool to help him. He’s the only guys in sports who seems to like lockouts.”