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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 01/21/2011

Bruce Boudreau: Chimera 'looking pretty good' on line with Ovechkin, Backstrom

By Katie Carrera

It's pretty well understood that line combinations are only worth so much considering how long the Capitals groups have stayed together lately. But Thursday night against the Islanders, Coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that he thought Jason Chimera "is looking pretty good on that line."

The line he was referring too was the Capitals' top group with Chimera alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Granted it was only one game and it's really a guessing game to wonder how long the trio might continue to skate as a unit, but for that one game it was hard not to like what they were able to accomplish.

All three players drove the net, they combined for five points a plus-6 rating, nine shots, three hits and Backstrom won 10 of 14 faceoffs. For Chimera, it's a new but welcome experience to try to play on a line with arguably the Capitals' two biggest stars.

"It's fun playing with those guys, you get the opportunity to shoot the puck in good spots," Chimera said. "They back so many guys off and you find yourself with more time than you usually do on other lines.

"I think the main thing with me is, I can't change my game. I've got to play the same way --I've got to use my speed," he continued. "I think I can back some guys off of them as well. [opponents have] got to honor my speed when I'm going."

Who knows exactly how long the group will last but for the time being it's interesting to see if they might be able to build off the early success against New York. What did you think of the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera combo?

--The Capitals canceled their practice for Friday in Toronto, where I've just arrived after escaping snowy Long Island. Earlier today, Washington returned defenseman Brian Fahey to the AHL's Hershey Bears so it looks like whatever was ailing John Erskine is no longer an issue.

Back in Washington, injured Capitals Alexander Semin, Michal Neuvirth and Matt Bradley were all on the ice at Kettler per the team.

By Katie Carrera  | January 21, 2011; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Friday afternoon Capitals roundup

Comments

I like the new line...keep it going!

Posted by: Burg_gold_blood | January 21, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The first goal to me was funny...

"Just stand there and I'll bounce the puck off your stick, don't move or you'll screw it up." It's pretty much the only way chimmy can score :)

It reminded me of, and I know none of you are going to get the reference, but there's this cartoon on [adult swim] called "Home Movies." The main character is on a soccer team and there was an episode where he became the greatest offensive player ever by just standing in front of the goal and having his teammates bounce the ball off his head into the goal.

Chimmy is our that :)

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 21, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

LA is in a freefall. What would they be willing to give for Semin?

Posted by: underpants2 | January 21, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

No report on Flash?

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 21, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he needs to stay on that line? I've been watching him and he's much faster than I thought. I thought he was just a tough guy, but maybe he might score some big goals for us later on down the line.

Posted by: stwasm | January 21, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Is the blood clot problem that Flash has somehow related to that deep vein thrombosis that he had last year?

Posted by: TwoBuckChuck | January 21, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Worth taking a shot at Nabokov? i follow the caps religiously and while i think both Varlamov and Neuvirth(sp?) have showed a lot of promise they cant stay out of the trainers office. A guy like Nabakov can not only provide some vet leadership to them and the team, but i think he's still got a lot left in the tank. Disclaimer: i live in SJ and am a caps fan first. so i've seen a lot of Nabokov in past years.

Posted by: Gotime32 | January 21, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I thought the 8 19 25 line looked great; lots of speed, terrific puck handling by Nicky and great job crashing the net.

I have to admit I wasn't a huge Chimera fan, but I think his speed compliments Ovie and Nicky's skills very well (at least for 1 game anyways)....we'll see

When everyone's healthy, how do these lines look:

8, 19, 25
28, 90, 21
16, 85/15, 22/83
26, 39, 10

Gordo and MP can split time, as should Beagle and Knuble. King as an injury fill in.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | January 21, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"I've been watching him and he's much faster than I thought."

He's always had a ton of speed, problem is his puck handling as others have noted.

Chimera is not afraid to go in front of the net which is a bonus. I heard what Laich said about the fowards "getting smaller" then what they have had in the past but I don't buy that.

I still think the Caps need to get tougher and if more of them would do what Chimera/Knuble do they would be better off.

I still think they're soft.

- Ray

PS - Get well Flash.

Posted by: rmcazz | January 21, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The line seems to be working. Keep it up!!!

@VTDuffman:
The only way Chimmy cand score? Have you watched the other games this season? Obviously not to make that comment.

@Gotime32:
The Caps may have some issues, but in my mind goaltending is FAR from one of them. Our goalies are a big reason we have the wins we do. And it is funny how some people on this board remember how good Neuvy was to start the season.
Signing Nabokov would do nothing for us except hit out cap space so we cant sign anyone else.

@rmcazz:
AGREE. Look at Philly, they have talent and toughness. The two big keys to winning in the playoffs.

Also, as a big Flash fan from when he was in Hershey through his time with the Caps, GET WELL SOON. Blood clots are really scary things and I am glad they found these when they did.

Posted by: DillsburgPACapsFan | January 21, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

No way Nabokov gets to the Caps for a waiver claim, 22 teams are ahead of us in the waiver order. For $570K some team will claim him, then most likely trade him.

Posted by: DaleHunter | January 21, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

So far I like the line... Let see if they can keep it going.. We need to get our secondary scoring going, and soon.. I know Semin has been out...Still other guys arent taking the opprotunity in front of them a running with it.. Go Caps!

Posted by: CapsBaby | January 21, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

#1 line looked great last night. Here's to hoping they can keep it going or it will be back to musical wings for the top line.

One thing is obvious, we need a #2 center big time. I like #90 & #85, but they are not getting it done consistently and they need a more consistent presence on the #2 line to go with Laich & Semin.

I don't see them going into the post season with two true rookies at center. I don't mind having two rookie d-men as they have been consistently good.

Posted by: jimc93 | January 21, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

8-19-25 seemed to work. This plays to Chimera's strong points. He doesn't have to puck handle much, he can muck the boards & he will play the front of the net. Good call by BB on this line.
If a team claims Nabokov & attempts to trade him, he has to go thru waivers again. He would actually save us cap money if we claimed him (1 or 30 @821,667k would be sent down). Other than pissing off 1 of the young goalies, I see no drawback in getting an experienced backup for less than nothing.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 21, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

NJ announced they will not put a claim in on Nabokov. So there went the theory some writer had less night about them claiming them for Detroit.

I dont think the Caps will put a claim in on him at this point. Neuvirth apparently skated today so it wont be a long term thing. So no real reason to.

Posted by: ThePat | January 21, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

If ChimChim can keep it up, then yeah, that line looked good. Then once people get healed up and GMGM pulls off that trade we need...our playoff lines could look like:

8-19-25
28-Fisher-16
21-90-22
10-26-83

It's easy to put / marks on the 3rd and 4th lines, but you have to actually make a decision. Thats the hard part. Who sits?

I think mine above look pretty solid and leaves 39,15,85,17 for fill ins if someone isnt performing. Although I got a feeling IF everyone is healthy and people arent moved...83 will be sitting.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 21, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@DaleHunter

I'm pretty sure that when u claim a player off waivers, they can't be traded for at least the season. So whatever team takes Nabakov will have to want to use him.

Posted by: capscoach | January 21, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe now i should comment on the actual blog post..... I love the new 8-19-25 line. I think chimera's speed demands respect from defenses. ESPECIALLY when you are out there with ovie and backstrom. his job is not to score, his job is to try and draw the d away from the other two. excellent move by bruce and we saw the fruits last night.

Posted by: Gotime32 | January 21, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If a third liner like Chimera can excel on and improve the recent performance of the No. 1 line, it is a win-win for the Caps because it has the ripple effect of allowing a go-to-the-net scoring forward like Knuble to move down to the second or third line to improve the scoring threat posed by that line.

Posted by: Monty2 | January 21, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

My Chimera support earlier this week was ridiculed by some of the nescient fans here. Now I have vindication! How sweet it is.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 21, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

So, Chimera has been a Cap for, what...? whatever. It took our genious Coach this long to figure this line combo could work? He'll probably change them again if they don't score next game.

Posted by: scmonty1 | January 21, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I liked the "Speed Racer" line--Speed (OV), Spritle (Nicky B), and Chim-Chim--Tuesday and I liked it even more last night. Here's hoping they stay productive, so Gabby keeps them together.

Posted by: Fletch_F_Fletch | January 21, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Chimmy won't last there more than a few games.

Yeah opponents really have to respect his speed. Whatever. He's not a great stick handler so I don't expect them to back off him like they do Ovechkin. And he's got to use more than his speed if he wants to stick around on the top line. He's got to drive the net consistently, finish his checks, play good defensively.

I don't see that happening so I'm giving him less than 10 games before he gets demoted.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 21, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

who backs off Ovechkin? His problem is that nobody backs off like they used to - they all close the gaps and he becomes predictable.

Posted by: perspective6 | January 21, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

At some point soon, Boudreau needs to stop toying with combinations of lines and let a threesome play together and get used to each other. Yes, this is a team and injuries can change things in months to come and especially in the playoffs, but constantly switching lines has a downside too.

Posted by: humbleandfree | January 21, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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