Bruins

Chara wins Messier Award, finishes third for Norris

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Chara wins Messier Award, finishes third for Norris

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
LAS VEGAS Its only appropriate that in the season when Zdeno Chara made his quantum leap as a leader that he was awarded the NHLs highest honor for leadership.

Chara finished third in the Norris Trophy voting for best defenseman behind winner Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber, but the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award after leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

The award is bestowed in recognition of commitment and services to the charities in the community as well as to the player who leads by positive example with his on-ice performance, motivation of team members and dedication to community activities.

The rough-and-tumble Chara has always been a lead-by-example player on the ice and a charitable sort since arriving in Boston, and those qualities have only been enhanced by what he's done off the ice.

Messier solicited opinions from league officials and team executives as well as NHL fans in picking Chara, Phoenixs Shane Doan and Detroits Lidstrom as the finalists for this years award. The former Oilers and Rangers great eventually chose the 18th captain of the Bruins due to the great strides hes taken in becoming only the second European-born Captain to lead a team to the Cup. Charas extensive work with Right to Play, the Bruins PJ Drive and Cuts for a Cause charities in the city of Boston also helped his cause.

To be selected by somebody like Mark is an honor, said Chara. You have to be a true leader and it doesn't happen overnight. Coming to Boston was great. I'm lucky to be surrounded by other players. I learned from veterans from previous years and early in my career too . . . but it just takes time.

I'm at the point where I'm really myself and I know that to be a leader you need to have followers. That's what I had in Boston. I'm thankful to my teammates, obviously the coaching staff and the organization. They all believed in me. They know that we as a group can get a job done. It's a privilege. I take it to heart to do a good job on and off the ice -- and be fair and a hard worker.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

There will be extra satisfaction if Bruins can help put a nail in Habs coffin

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There will be extra satisfaction if Bruins can help put a nail in Habs coffin

MONTREAL – It’s not often the Boston Bruins get a chance to literally deal the death blow to their arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.

But that’s really where the B’s stand on Saturday as they visit the Bell Centre for a third meeting in eight days against the hated Habs after winning each of the first two rivalry match-ups. The Canadiens are nine points out of a wild card playoff spot with four teams ahead of them, and sit 11 points out of an Atlantic Division playoff spot more than halfway through their season.

It would take an epic hot streak like the one engineered by Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond and the Ottawa Senators three seasons ago for Montreal to simply get into the postseason. It would also require the Canadiens to actually start winning divisional games like the one facing them on Saturday night against Boston. So the Bruins know they could plunge the dagger into the Habs by sweeping the third game this weekend, and they’re taking just a little bit of pleasure at the position they’re in while on an 11-0-4 run in their last 15 games.

“We’re aware of the standings. We know that we want to keep climbing up and trying to catch up to Tampa. That being said, you look at Montreal and whichever teams that are behind you and you want to push them down,” said Patrice Bergeron. “When you face them it’s big games for them, and it’s the same for us. It will be a big battle. They had a big win last night and are feeling good about their game, so we need to make sure that we’re ready.”

They’ll take even more please out of it if they leave Montreal tonight with two points secured in their column while pushing the Habs deeper into their tailspin.

“I don’t think we’re going into the game talking about that, but if works out that way at 10:30 when we’re getting ready to get on a plane out of town…I think there would be a little extra satisfaction,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think some of our young kids are still getting a taste of it. Last Saturday [Jake] DeBrusk and Charlie [McAvoy] got an idea of how loud it is in here, and how passionate [the fans are].

“But at the end of the day we play 82 times a year, and this one of them to get two points and keep climbing up in the standings.”

While the Bruins are rested and ready after getting a full day off on Friday, the Habs were battling until the final buzzer in Washington on Fridaynight to eke out a win against the Capitals. It was a nice win for the Habs after the embarrassment of dropping a stink bomb in Boston on Wednesday night, but it also should leave them as fatigued, easy pickings if the Black and Gold come armed with their killer instinct on Saturday.

“They know [the importance of the game] on the other side. I expect a desperate effort tonight from them, and giving it their all in front of their home fans,” said Bruins rookie winger Jake DeBrusk. “It’s a four point game and it’s against Montreal, and we got the first two [games]. It would be nice to get the third one here, but we just want to keep things going. It doesn’t really matter who we play except for games like this. We just need to keep our head on straight and play the way we can play.”

It’s true the Bruins/Habs rivalry loses a little juice when one of the teams is really down as Montreal is this season, and the real revenge factor for Boston was getting a decisive win in former coach Claude Julien’s return to Boston in mid-week. But there’s little doubting that having been the one kicked around so many times in the long, storied history of the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry, any chance for Boston to really put a hurting on Montreal still means a little something to those in Black and Gold. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: R.I.P. Red Fisher, Montreal legend

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Morning Skate: R.I.P. Red Fisher, Montreal legend

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while knowing that I’m in Canada because I’m watching women’s curling on a Saturday afternoon.

*Rest in Peace to Red Fisher, a legendary figure in the Montreal media who added to the atmosphere every time I saw him at the Bell Centre over the years. When you talk to people about him, you realize they just don’t make sportswriters like that anymore.

*Here’s a good piece on local hockey player John McCarthy, who will be on the USA Olympic hockey roster after a solid career at BU and in the San Jose Sharks organization.

*Cabbie Richards visits with Brayden Schenn as the St. Louis Blues player chats about important hockey stuff like dessert.

*I’ve got to be totally honest with you: The idea of an NHL expansion team called the Seattle Kraken is pretty awesome. Just think of all the Clash of the Titans tie-in possibilities.

*Looks like the Providence Bruins are finally getting into the "Star Wars" Night, and why not given how popular it’s been across hockey’s minor leagues?

*For something completely different: I spent part of my day yesterday tweeting back and forth with Star Wars director Rian Johnson and ended up in the Twitter “Moments” section yesterday. Just another day in social media Shangri-La, right?  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE