Cheers for Chimera

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- Jason, the horror movie monster, wore a goalie mask on Friday the 13th and cut people into pieces.

Jason Chimera, the hockey player, wears a helmet, scored his 13th on Thursday, and is a little divided himself.

There's a part of him that misses Edmonton dearly. There's another part that feels bad about being traded out of his home town. Jason part III is grateful for a move that allows him more ice time. And part IV is determined to show the Oilers what they're missing.

And when you roll them all up into one, you've got a motivated, happy Columbus Blue Jacket who's one goal shy of a career high.

"It's good when you get a chance to play lots,'' said the easygoing winger, who seems, after a brief and unsuccessful stop in Phoenix, to have found a new home in Ohio. "We're out of the playoffs now so that's tough, but it's nice to get some ice time. You don't have to worry about being in and out of the lineup, just playing hard.''

And that's what he's done. Playing at his trademark break-neck speed (horror-movie Jason wasn't as fast, but still broke a few necks in his day), Chimera is a favourite in Blue Jacket country, on the ice and in the room.

PLAYED WELL, WORKED HARD

"He's played very well, worked very hard,'' said head coach Gerard Gallant. "And he's a guy who has a smile on his face every day. He's important for your dressing room.

''You need a little of everything in your room, and he's one of those guys who keeps it pretty loose and fun. And he's playing well, too, so that really helps.''

He isn't just adding the kind of secondary scoring most teams need, but his goals from the third line usually come at just the right time.

Eight of the 13 have come in the third period and seven of them have given Columbus a lead.

"We're a really fast line,'' said Chimera, who gives a lot of credit to Manny Malhotra and Trevor Letowski.

FINDING CHEMISTRY

"It's easy to play the game when you're with guys you have a lot of chemistry with. And I get a little more ice time here, penalty kill time, it's nice to be out in those situations, too.''

Coming off a disappointing four-goal season in Phoenix, Chimera, 26, didn't know what to expect from Columbus, or himself, when Wayne Gretzky dealt him here two days into the season.

But he scored on his first shot as a Jacket and has fit in pretty well ever since.

"(Phoenix) is almost like a vacation the whole time. It's hard to concentrate on hockey,'' he said.

"This is similar to Edmonton; it's a smaller city and the fans are good here. It's close to sold out every night. It's a pretty loud building. It's fun to play here.''

Leaving Edmonton, the city he grew up in and the team he idolized, cut him deeply, but Chimera holds no grudge toward Oilers management.

"When you get traded from your home town, it's tough to take. I loved it there,'' he said.

"But I'm over it. I have nothing but respect for (the Oilers).

''They thought it would be better for me to go somewhere else and play a little more and it worked out for me. I thank (Kevin Lowe) for that.''

Now he's become a bigger part of the plans in Columbus than he ever was in Edmonton.

"I'm guessing he's going to be here for a while because we like him and he likes it here a lot,'' said Gallant.

"Hopefully he's going to be a mainstay with the team for a while.''


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