Name: Zdeno Chara
Weight: 255 lbs.
2010-11 NHL stats/rank among defensemen:
Goals: 14 (6th)
Assists: 30 (25th)
Points: 44 (19th)
Plus/Minus: Plus-33 (1st in NHL)
Shots on goal: 264 (2nd)
Goals: 2 (9th)
Assists: 7 (7th)
Points: 9 (8th)
Plus/Minus: Plus-16 (1st)
Shots on goal: 62 (3rd)
Anthony’s take: I’ve been quick to knock Chara at times during his run in Boston, I previously have felt he didn’t deserve the C on his chest, and honestly felt Chara was underrated, but Chara changed my opinion this season. I was very impressed with the way Chara handled the Max Pacioretty incident. I saw a different, motivated Chara this year that ultimately ended with the Bruins Captain leading his team to the Stanley Cup, something that certainly earned my respect.
After a disappointing defensive season last year, Chara bounced back with one his best defensive seasons in Boston. A finalist for the Norris Trophy, Chara was tremendous for the Bruins. Chara finished the season with 44 points for the second straight year, but this year led the league with a plus-33 mark.
Chara carried his play into the postseason with 9 points and a plus-6 mark. When paired with Dennis Seidenberg during the playoffs, the duo instantly found success becoming one of the NHL’s best defensive pairings, something I expect to continue this coming season.
Final grade: A-
Tim’s turn: When one looks at Zdeno Chara’s stats during the 2010-11 season, they might assume that his season was more like his 2009-10 campaign judging by the exact point totals (44 — 14 goals, 30 assists) those two years. Moreover, Chara only tallied 9 points in 24 games during the playoffs. On the other hand, his physical presence, combined with his pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, frustrated opposing teams throughout.
But looking at the bigger picture, Chara had one of his most productive years as a member of the Black and Gold.
On the ice, Chara was very much the same presence that The Hub has been accustomed to. As a result, the team captain was named a Norris Trophy Finalist for the second time in three years, two years after capturing that same trophy, which Bruins’ greats Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque won numerous times. In the locker room, Chara was a leader by example.
If there was one Bruin who had to handle the most adversity this season then it has to be Chara, especially after his headshot on Max Pacioretty. But rather than succumbing to that adversity, Chara — who is still somehow being investigated by the Montreal police for his hit on the ice — faced it and handled it very well. That proved to go a long way during the postseason when the Black and Gold battled some of their own adversity during certain moments of the postseason against the Habs and Canucks.
Sometimes a better leader is one who isn’t as vocal in the locker room. Chara is a perfect example of that in The Hub of Hockey.
Final grade: A