Bruins

Morning Skate: Tickling, licking...'this league's getting weird'

Morning Skate: Tickling, licking...'this league's getting weird'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Royal Wedding talk goes on, and on, and on, and on.

*After being the target of Marc-Andre Fleury’s tickling attempt behind his ear, Blake Wheeler admitted “this league’s getting weird” with tickling and licking at the center of this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

*Don Cherry takes aim at some of the consistency from the officials as they once again missed a clear high-stick/cross-check to the head of Mark Schiefele during the Jets/Golden Knights series.

*What a great story, by the way, as the Vegas Golden Knights stand just one win away from being in the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.

*The heat is on for the Washington Capitals as the Tampa Bay Lightning have taken control of their playoff series, and it’s time for the Caps to craft a response.

*The John Tavares Watch has begun for a number of hopeful Canadian teams as the July 1 open of free agency approaches.

*What’s next for Mike Fisher after the Nashville Predators veteran once again retired after the premature end of Nashville’s playoff run?

*For something completely different: It’s probably time for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to stop trying to mirror the events of the cinematic universe quite so much.

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Charlie McAvoy had a heartfelt reaction to Zdeno Chara extension news

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USA TODAY Sports

Charlie McAvoy had a heartfelt reaction to Zdeno Chara extension news

Zdeno Chara is sticking around for at least one more season, and his young apprentice couldn't be happier.

Hours after the Boston Bruins signed Chara to a one-year extension Saturday, fellow defenseman Charlie McAvoy shared just how important the 42-year-old veteran has been to his NHL development.

"It’s really hard to put into words," McAvoy told reporters. "It’s kind of indescribable just how much he’s helped me grow into myself.

" ... Having someone like him who's just the consummate pro; just everything he does is the perfect example for how everyone on our team should act. I'm very lucky. I don’t take it for granted to be able to play with a guy like that."

McAvoy, who's exactly half Chara's age at 21, has blossomed into a top-pairing defenseman thanks in part to learning from the six-time All-Star. The biggest thing the mentee has picked up from the mentor? Hard work pays off.

"You don't know what hard work is really until you've seen him work," McAvoy said of Chara. "Whether it's on the ice, off the ice, diet or whatever it may be, everything is in the best interest of his career, and you can really learn a lot from a guy like that."

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney echoed McAvoy's sentiments Saturday, calling Chara a "machine." And Sweeney ensured that machine will keep running in Boston through the 2019-20 season.

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Bruins sign Zdeno Chara to a one-year, team-friendly extension

Bruins sign Zdeno Chara to a one-year, team-friendly extension

Zdeno Chara continues to get the Tim Wakefield treatment by the Boston Bruins, which means a string of one-year deals in perpetuity until the 42-year-old B’s captain decides to hang it up one of these days.

The Bruins announced on Saturday morning that they have signed the 42-year-old Chara to a one-year extension for next season worth $2 million in base salary along with another $1.75 million in reachable incentives.

Chara is in his 21st NHL season and 13th with Boston, and has appeared in 55 games this season while posting four goals and seven assists along with a plus-16 rating as a shutdown defenseman for the Black and Gold. While Chara is still effective as a shutdown D-man and is arguably still the best penalty killer going in the NHL, it’s also clear this season that age is beginning to slow him down a little bit at 42 years old. The 20:59 of ice time per game for Chara this season is the lowest of his career as the Bruins have focused on reducing his workload, and adding more to the plate of 21-year-old workhorse defenseman Charlie McAvoy.  

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The $2 million contract is excellent value for an aging, still-effective player in Chara that’s still a legit top-4 NHL defenseman at the NHL level, even if his Norris Trophy days and bigger offensive producer days are also now in the rearview mirror. The $2 million deal also gives the Bruins plenty of salary cap flexibility in helping them sign both McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, a couple of young RFA’s that are due for big raises on their second contracts this summer.  The lowered salary and cap hit for Chara more than makes up for any reductions to Chara’s game as he continues to play into his mid-40’s with a goal of lacing them up until at least the age of 45 years old. Besides, one can’t really put a price tag on the leadership, work ethic, toughness and intimidation level that Chara brings to the table as a 6-foot-9 defenseman that’s seen and done just about everything at the NHL level over the last two decades. It will be interesting to see if both Chara and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can reach those career mile-posts for themselves as they largely put off any big effects to their games from Father Time.

The 42-year-old defenseman has led the Bruins to a postseason berth in nine of his 12 completed seasons with the team, including a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010-11. He ranks sixth in franchise history in games played (948), and fourth in points by a defenseman (452) behind Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Bobby Orr (888), and Dit Clapper (474).

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