It's official. 2020 has been a strange year for Boston sports fans.
The Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. Tom Brady left the Patriots and signed with the Buccaneers. And now Zdeno Chara's time with the Bruins has come to an end, with Big Z signing with the Washington Capitals.
The long-time B's captain's future in Boston was in doubt when he entered the offseason as a free agent at age 43, but he made it official Wednesday afternoon when he penned an emotional farewell to the city -- and Bruins fans -- on his Instagram page. Here's part of what he wrote:
My family and I have been so fortunate to call the great city of Boston our home for over 14 years. Recently, The Boston Bruins have informed me that they plan to move forward with their many younger and talented players and I respect their decision. Unfortunately, my time as the proud Captain of the Bruins has come to an end.
I want to first of all thank the passionate and loyal Bruins fans, who shared the ups and downs of each season over the past 14 years. I’m proud that we were able to return the Stanley Cup to Boston and celebrating with all of you, in Boston, New England, and around the world, was a moment I will never forget. You all have treated my family and me as one of your own and I will always be grateful. Thank you...
To all of my teammates throughout the years in Boston, I am so lucky to have a lifetime of memories that I will never forget. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, we were always a team, we were always there for each other and those bonds and friendships will never be forgotten...
As I begin this next chapter, I want the people of Boston to know how proud I was to be a Bruin and how grateful I am for all of the support over the years. “Thank you” does not seem adequate to express my sincere gratitude. I will always be a Bruin. I will always love Boston.
That's a tough read for any Bruins fan who assumed that Chara would retire as a Bruin -- but he confirmed that it was the team's decision to move on after 14 seasons.
Chara's 14-year run as B's captain equaled that of Ray Bourque -- and he leaves Boston as one of only a handful of players in NHL history to have played in four decades.
The writing seemed to be at least partially on the wall earlier this month when Cam Neely only said the following about Chara's role on the Bruins next season if he returned:
"Well I think it really depends on what he feels he can do and help us, and we have to feel the same way, how that looks. Is that something that he would be comfortable with, how we maybe envision it looking compared to maybe how he feels it may look?"
Apparently the two sides didn't feel the same way, and now B's fans will have to get used to the very strange sight of Chara in a Capitals uniform.