When Jason Chimera was shipped to Washington on Dec. 28, 2009, the move was bitter-sweet for Chimera as he was leaving a city he embraced for a team that is a legitimate title contender.
He still embraces Columbus and is still playing for a contender. On Saturday evening, his Washington Capitals clinched a share of the President’s Trophy for the NHL’s best record in their 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chimera was traded for Milan Jurcina and Chris Clark. It is becoming clear Washington won that trade. Jurcina was shipped back to the Capitals for a conditional draft pick at the trade deadline. Jurcina has yet to play for the Capitals so it appears he will not meet the condition of the trade. Clark is now injured for the rest of the season. Chimera will still have two seasons remaining on his contract with the Capitals whereas Clark only has one following the 2009-10 campaign.
“I had a really good time here,” Chimera said in his first visit back to Columbus. “It was a great time, I became a better player here.”
Chimera over his four and-a-half seasons in Columbus became very involved in charity and community work. Chimera along with teammate Manny Malhotra befriended Ryan Salmons, a 19-year-old who suffered from non-treatable pediatric cancer. The Salmons family was welcomed into the Blue Jackets locker room by Chimera with open arms as if the Salmons’ family was a part of the Blue Jackets’ family
Salmons passed away shortly after the Blue Jackets got knocked out of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the help of Chimera and the Blue Jackets, there was a foundation established in Salmons’ name which has made hefty contributions to Columbus’ Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“I think anytime you get the community involved, it is good,” Chimera said. “Any place you go, you want to get yourself in the trenched in the community.”
Chimera has 16 points since joining Washington. He is teammates with one of the greatest hockey players of this generation in Alexander Ovechkin.
“(He brings) energy, speed, and in the locker room, he is an unbelievable guy,” Ovechkin said about Chimera. “That kind of guy helps us win.”
Chimera’s presence has been missed in the Blue Jackets’ locker room.
“I like Chimmer, I think all of us did,” Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore said. “He was here for a long time and I think he was well liked. It is good for Chimera; it is a great opportunity for him going to a really good team. I am sure he is excited about the playoffs.”
“We certainly know he has a lot of speed,” Blue Jackets coach Claude Noel said. “He is capable of doing lots of things and he’ll be giving his A game tonight.”
Chimera and Ovechkin may very well get their first chance to participate in the NHL Stanley Cup finals this season.
“It was a good thing for my career,” Chimera said.