Chara: I want to stay with Bruins, keep playing beyond this season


Chara: I want to stay with Bruins, keep playing beyond this season

BRIGHTON, Mass – Zdeno Chara made it clear that he’s willing to talk about his future with the Boston Bruins whenever they make it a priority. After the 40-year-old expressed a desire for a contract extension at the end of last season, there was no discussion from either side this summer leading into the final year of his deal with the Black and Gold. That’s to be expected at this point in his career with an older player like Chara operating on a year-to-year basis, but the Bruins captain said he’s ready and willing whenever his longtime employer wants to have a discussion about his future – even if those negotiations wind up taking place during the season.  

“I love the game. I love everything about it. I love the sacrifice and I love the training. There are so many things that are so positive [about playing in the NHL]. At my age I look at what I can still do and just really enjoy it. I just want to keep improving and play for as long as I can,” said Chara, who made his first appearance at B’s captain’s practice on Tuesday with roughly 30 other B’s skaters. “I always felt I can play for a long time if I’m in good shape and if I can be healthy. So that’s what I wish for, that I can be healthy and play a long time while still being really effective and consistent. 

“I definitely want to play beyond this season. It’s really hard to put a number on it. Some people do and some people don’t. I just obviously want to keep playing [in the NHL] beyond this season. I love this game too much. I have made no secrets about it. I want to stay here [with the Bruins] and continue to play.”

If Chara has enjoys another season like last year then it should be a no-brainer that both sides would want to keep things going. The 40-year-old veteran spent the entire year in a shutdown pairing with 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and then skated with 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy in the playoffs once Carlo was lost to a concussion. 

Chara finished with 10 goals and 29 points in 75 games with a plus-18 rating and averaged 23:30 of ice time as Boston’s de facto No. 1 defenseman. Amazingly, Chara averaged more than 28 minutes of ice time per game in the playoffs once Carlo, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid had all been lost to injury, and continued to show new energy in his game playing with the best young D-man prospects in Boston’s system. 

Chara freely admitted that his time skating with Carlo and McAvoy, both young enough to be his own children, benefitted him as much as his experienced helped shepherd them along. 

“I think it works both ways. I think oftentimes people only see one side of the pair, but honestly I enjoy being around the young guys. I look forward to coming to the rink every day and playing with them,” said Chara. “It’s a little bit of a teaching process and a little bit of friendship, and you’ve just got to have respect for each other no matter how many games each player has played [in the NHL]. Whether it’s on or off the ice, the key is communicating and talking things out for when you get on the ice.”

The proper play for the Bruins is to wait and see with Chara, who at 40 years old as a big-bodied, shutdown D-man is really beginning to defy the NHL odds. If the 6-foot-9 captain continues to play as well this season as he did last year – and remains healthy – there are plenty of good arguments to be made for a one or two-year contract at his current $4 million salary for the upcoming season. If Chara begins to break down or starts to really have trouble keeping pace with an NHL that gets faster and more athletic each and every season, then that’s going to speed up Boston’s plan for life after their future Hall of Fame defenseman. 

Clearly it may help Chara this season if the Bruins can further reduce his role where his minutes get scaled back a tick and simultaneously place an even greater focus on his basic shutdown role. But one has also learned not to doubt the prideful, tireless workhorse of a D-man that Chara has been for the last 20 years, and could be for another five at the NHL if the hockey gods see fit to keep him healthy for all that time.   

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

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Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

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