At 34 years old, Jason Chimera doesn’t need to look at the Capitals’ roster to know he is the team’s oldest player.
He’s also well aware that with one season remaining on his contract, his window for winning a Stanley Cup is closer to the sill than it is the head.
“As the years go by you get a little older and you try to tell the young guys they’ll be my age before they know it,” Chimera said. “You want another chance. It’s one of the big goals of my life.
“A lot of guys I talk to that are done playing the game, their only regret is that they never won it. They think about it every day. You don’t want to be on your death bed and have that on your mind.”
Two seasons ago it seemed everything Chimera shot found the back of the net. He recorded a career-high 20 goals and 39 points, routinely beating defensemen with bursts of speed down the left wing.
Last season, Chimera looked just as fast and rifled 92 shots on goal, but only three went in, giving him his lowest shooting percentage [3.3 percent] of his career.
“It was kind of a screwed up season for everybody,” Chimera said, referring to the lockout-shortened 48-game season. “Personally, I wanted to do better but we battled to make the playoffs.
“Obviously, I want to be better. Those 20 goals from the year before didn’t just disappear. I look forward to having a good year. I feel young. I feel better than I ever have.”
When they sat down for their post-season meeting, Capitals coach Adam Oates emphasized to Chimera how well he played in the playoffs, when he recorded one goal and two assists in seven playoff games against the Rangers.
“I’d rather be known as a terrible regular season player than a terrible playoff player,” Chimera said with a laugh.
“I need for him to play the way he did in the playoffs,” Oates said. “Hopefully, that was a real confidence booster for him.
“Yeah, the regular season was tough because he came off a phenomenal year. We had a lousy start and he had a lousy start because of it, but we all did. It affected him and hopefully we’re through it.
“But he’s very important to our team and I told him that at the end of the year. He plays with Wardo [Joel Ward], big guys and they’re important guys for us.”
Tonight against the Blackhawks [7 p.m., CSN] Chimera is expected to play on the left side of center Eric Fehr and right wing Joel Ward.
With prospect Tom Wilson expected to challenge for a spot in the lineup, Chimera said he expects plenty of competition for ice time this season, his fifth with the Capitals.
“You want to win the Stanley Cup,” he said. “We have the team to do it, we just have to do it. The reason I signed an extension [in 2012] is that you realize what you’ve got here.
“You don’t come across guys like Ovi, and Nicky and Greenie and Brouws and Marty and Grabovski. Now that we have those guys you’re like, ‘Holy Smokes, we have a good team again.’ This team gives me a good chance to win a Stanley Cup, if not the best. We just have to go out and do it.”