Bruins

Zdeno Chara reaches out to Brendan Gallagher after nasty cross-check

Zdeno Chara reaches out to Brendan Gallagher after nasty cross-check

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has long been considered one of the NHL’s premier class acts and he proved it again this week by reaching out to an opposing player after a heated incident.

Montreal center Brendan Gallagher told reporters on Tuesday that the 42-year-old Bruins captain reached out to him, and apologized for a vicious cross-check to the Montreal center’ neck in a game against the Habs last week.

Perhaps making it a little more vital that he express his apologies, Chara mocked the Habs forward for snapping his head back and embellishing immediately after the fracas. 

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The pesky Gallagher further told reporters that he appreciated the gesture from the surefire Hall of Fame defenseman.

Chara was fined $5,000 for the violent cross-check that somehow netted both combatants matching penalties in the Bruins' win over the Canadiens at TD Garden.

Gallagher wasn’t injured during the sequence, and it was caused more by the disparity in height between the two players than it was about injurious intent behind the Bruins defenseman’s actions.

Still, Chara has a long history of showing compassion for players who have been injured after run-ins with the 6-foot-9 defenseman, including a palpable show of guilt when one of Chara’s blistering slapshots snapped then-Rangers captain Ryan Callahan’s leg during the 2010-11 NHL season.

The incident even caused Chara to take fewer of his trademark 100-mph slapshots for a stretch following the injury.

The contact between Chara and Gallagher also further illustrated the thaw between Chara and Canadiens fans who once routinely booed the Bruins captain each time he touched the puck at the Bell Centre. Much of the hate centered on Chara’s collision with Max Pacioretty into one of the Bell Centre stanchions that seriously injured the Montreal forward during the 2010-11 season, and bizarrely spurred Canadiens fans to report Chara’s actions to the police.

That was all clearly water under the bridge when Canadiens fans gave Chara a warm, long ovation at the Bell Centre earlier this season when he was playing in his 1,500th NHL game, a significant milestone for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.

Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

As the oldest player in the NHL, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara doesn't really know when his last chance to win another Stanley Cup will come.

It might have been last season when the 43-year-old Chara led the B’s to within a Game 7 of winning a Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues only to brutally come up just short. Then again, it looked like Chara and the Bruins had another solid chance this year while leading the entire NHL with 100 points with roughly a month left to go in the regular season.

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Then, things were put on pause due to a coronavirus outbreak that has brought the entire world to a standstill.

For aging players like Chara, 34-year-old Patrice Bergeron, 33-year-old David Krejci and 33-year-old Tuukka Rask, this season might be their last, best chance to win another Stanley Cup before the championship window perhaps begins to close on the Black and Gold.

Chara was asked how much that was on his mind as he sits in his Florida home with his wife and children while waiting out the coronavirus outbreak with no real knowledge as to when, or if, hockey will be back around the NHL this season.

Clearly his mind is on the seriousness of the situation, as the priority is on getting people through the next few weeks when the outbreak could be at its most intense in the US. But Chara also said the unknown of it all with this season is more than a little disconcerting.

“It is obviously one of those situations that you can’t really control. Right now we all have to look after each other and look after our families,” said Chara, on a Zoom webinar conference call with reporters organized by the NHL on Monday afternoon. “I know it’s kind of a cliché answer in these days, but hockey is really secondary. If you have to look at it that way then, yeah, it’s kind of hard to look at the pause on the league at the stage where we were at.

“With only a few games until the playoffs and so close to the playoffs with the team playing well and with confidence, we were obviously in a good place. But who knows? We can’t always wish for the perfect situation. These types of situations do happen once in a while. Hopefully we play again and we’ll see when that’s going to be.”

With places like California, New York City and Florida getting hit hardest by the coronavirus right now, even a conference call with hockey players was about thanking medical personnel, first responders and other people stepping into the breach right now.

“These are strange times. There are challenges we’re all facing right now. Most of us are away from the things we love to do. The things we don’t have to work, to play and to entertain people. Hopefully we get through this. A huge, big thank you has to go to the medical professionals, the people that are volunteering and the people that are delivering food,” said Chara. “It just takes time. We have to stay patient, and safe, and disciplined. There is no other way to do it, but to do it together.”

The words are inspiring for the longest-running captain in the NHL and one of the best leaders of his generation in all of pro sports. Hopefully, Chara and the Bruins get that chance to see good they can be in the playoffs over the next four months with an NHL that’s going to do everything they can to make sure there is a postseason conclusion to a 2019-20 regular season that had been almost entirely played out.

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Zdeno Chara was probably not the Vegas favorite to give the funniest and most entertaining answer of an Atlantic Division Zoom conference call with NHL reporters, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday afternoon.

Chara, Dylan Larkin, John Tavares and Brady Tkachuk answered questions online for 30-plus minutes and the Bruins captain saved his best material when asked which teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with.

His choice was Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and the reasons behind it were pungently amazing.

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Apparently, Rask has an issue in the fart department and it’s chronic enough that his longtime Bruins teammate would not want to be anywhere near him for the stinky aftermath of his beloved chicken wings.

“I have to say Tuukka Rask. The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.” 

How this farting issue remained a well-kept secret within the Bruins locker room over the years is nothing short of amazing. 

Rask has been a regular at Buff’s Pub in Newton over the years while living in the suburban city, so none of this should be surprising information when it comes to Boston’s No. 1 goaltender.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chara singled out Charlie Coyle and Kevan Miller as teammates he enjoys spending time with and guys he wouldn’t mind being quarantined with if he had his choice.

On a more serious note, Chara, who mentioned during the call that he drove to Florida a couple of weeks ago with his family to live in their gated community property, mentioned several times that hockey is secondary right now while the entire world is going through the “strange times” of a global coronavirus outbreak, and thanked the medical personnel, first responders and food delivery people who continue to do their duty under very dangerous, trying conditions.