Zdeno Chara played in the KHL for the last three months, but was never propositioned with the idea of remaining behind to play in the Russian League when the NHL lockout finally ended.
The Bruins captain finished with 25 games under his belt for HC Lev Prague, and showed up in Boston on Wednesday for a skate with his Bs teammates after flying back from Europe on Tuesday.
There was some level of intrigue whether elite Russian superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk would return from the KHL after reportedly being promised millions upon millions to remain in Mother Russia. But Ilya Kovalchuk is still in Russia while planning to play in the KHL All-Star game this week, and there is some question as to whether hell be returning to his job with the New Jersey Devils.
Even if he does return to New Jersey, it appears that participating in the KHL All-Star game will make Kovalchuk late for the start of training camp.
Chara didnt have much to say about the choices other players are making, and said its up to each individual.
Well have to wait and see. There is a lot of speculation about Russian players, said Chara. What can I say? They need to make comments for themselves.
But one thing was certain when it came to Chara and the KHL: He was headed to Boston as soon as the lockout was over. The 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman made sure there was clear language in his contract allowing him to leave for North America once the new NHL CBA was settled.
We all knew Boston is where we wanted to be and this is where we wanted to play, said Chara, speaking for all 12 Bs players skating overseas. Europe was good in the short term for a lot of us, but this is where we all wanted to be.
It was pretty clear in my contract that once the NHL begins that I was leaving. It depends on how the guys feel and what they wanted to decide to do. I cant really tell you much about it.
Chara finished with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 25 games for the Bruins and was a plus-4 after some early struggles shaking the rust off, and gave the KHL credit for its standing as one of the best hockey leagues in the world aside from the NHL.
There are some really, really skilled guys over there, said Chara. There are players that are very skilled as far as skating, handling the puck and making plays. I think its less physical, but skating-wise and skill-wise its a little bit different.
There were some very high-tempo games and some other games that was a little more laid back and defensive. There was also a lot of travel through different time zones, so all of those things can affect how you play.
The KHLs high skill level and challenging travel should have a conditioning fanatic like Chara ready to jump into NHL game action after participating in games through the early part of last weekend.