“I don’t think he’s going to be part of the team, but obviously it’s great to see him out there and try to do what he can,” joked Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin after his lifelong friend dressed in clothes. goalkeeper and faced shots for several minutes. at the end of the practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. “I think he had fun and realized how difficult it is to be a goalkeeper.”
Zimmerman, who was wearing a GoPro in his goalkeeper helmet, said he had discussed the idea of spending time between the pipes with the Capitals center, Nicklas Backstrom, a few years ago. Zimmerman told Backstrom that he imagined he could defend himself with his capture glove, even if he had no idea what to do with his cane or blocker. In fact, Zimmerman made some impressive saves of gloves, which caused stick blows and cheers from Ovechkin and the other Capitals players gathered in the center of the ice, but barely reacted when Backstrom skated and unleashed a slap hit by his side. stick.
“It’s not that I need respect for the goalkeepers, because obviously they’re crazy to start,” said Zimmerman. “I will never understand how they do it, but a new respect for those boys. I have no chance when they start to dekerate and move. The skates are not my forte.”
Capital coach Todd Reirden liked what he saw of Zimmerman, even if he doesn’t intend to challenge Braden Holtby or Ilya Samsonov for playing.
“It looked pretty good there,” Reirden said. “Good glove, sure. Big boy, it took up a lot of space. The boys weren’t letting it pass. I was seeing some serious gas from some of the boys.
“Once it really increased, I didn’t have a chance,” Zimmerman said of Ovechkin, who ripped a few times at the bottom of the net.
Zimmerman described Wednesday’s experience as a “good opportunity” and extended an invitation for the Capitals to come to the National Park and stand in the batter’s box against Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg at some point.
“That would be the equivalent of how terrified I was to be out there,” Zimmerman said. “That’s the most nervous I’ve been, for any sport.”
As for the status of his contractual negotiations with the Nationals, who rejected his $ 18 million option for the 2020 season after the World Series, Zimmerman joked that he is also a “free hockey agent.” At Nationals Winterfest on Saturday, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said he spent 90 minutes chatting with Zimmerman in his office last week, but he had no news to report a new agreement with the team’s original team.
“I’m not worried,” said Zimmerman, who has played 15 years of his career in Washington on Wednesday. “We have talked. We keep talking. As I said, I have made my intentions quite clear, and they know what to stand for. We know where they stand. We have been coming and going for the past two weeks. I am sure something will happen. It is just a matter of time. We have a month, anyway. It’s okay. Take our time. “
Samantha Pell contributed to this report.