EDMONTON - Jason Chimera tuned into every episode.
Even though as a member of the Washington Capitals, the Edmonton native was part of the HBO documentary leading up to the NHL Winter Classic, Chimera was hooked on the series.
“My wife and I watched it religiously, just like everybody else on the team, because we didn’t know what they were going to take and use on the show,” said Chimera, who is currently taking part in Perry Pearn’s three-on-three camp at the K of C Twin Arenas. “They shot hours and hours of footage. It was well done, it was fun to watch.
“I got hundreds of texts because it gave my friends an inside look to how things work. Even your best of friends don’t really know the inside of how everything works and the inside of the dressing room. That part of it was really cool.”
The documentary followed both the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins through the first half of the season as they prepared to face each other in an outdoor game.
Much like the local production following the Edmonton Oilers, the HBO series gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look into an NHL locker room.
Wherever Chimera and the Capitals went last season they had a camera crew in tow.
“At first it was a little distracting because it was like a movie set,” Chimera said. “They had lights and boom mics all over the place.
“But then you lost track of it after a bit and it became pretty cool. The camera crews were really good about it. They were filming and they were really respectful about it. In the end, I think the Washington camera crew wanted us to beat Pittsburgh as much as we wanted to beat them. I think they had a lot of side bets going with the Pittsburgh crew. It was a pretty fun atmosphere, because they were in it with us.”
The Capitals ended up winning the Winter Classic, but fell short of expectations, bowing out in the second round of the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We’re disappointed with what happened last season, obviously we wanted to go a little further,” Chimera said. “We had a lot of guys that had down years stats-wise, including myself, and we want to go and improve on that this year.
“I think it’s going to be a big year for the team. I think our team did a lot of growing up over the last couple of years as a team and it’s going to be a big year.”
Originally selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the fifth round — 121st overall — of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Chimera is heading into his 10th NHL season.
Chimera started his NHL career with the Oilers before moving on to play with the Columbus Blue Jackets and then Capitals.
In 81 games last year, the left winger had 10 goals and 16 assists. He added a pair of goals and two assists in nine playoff games.
“Obviously we have a good team, it’s one of those teams that you have a chance to win the Stanley Cup with and you should be there at the end and it’s disappointing if you’re not there,” Chimera said. “It’s always fun playing on a team that is highly offensive and that can score. Playing with those guys keeps you young, it keeps you motivated to go out and play. Watching those guys play is pretty fun.”
Chimera expects to take on a bigger leadership role this season with the Capitals and hopes to improve his offensive output.
The ultimate goal, however, is to win the Stanley Cup, something the Capitals have been striving for since the arrival of superstar Alex Ovechkin.
“I work out with (Boston Bruins defenceman) Johnny Boychuk every day and he had his day with the Cup,” Chimera said. “Just seeing that, you want that for yourself and your team. I think it would be a cool day, and it would be fun to enjoy, especially with two little ones at home.”