In order of jersey number, each player will be highlighted. In today’s edition, we have No. 33, Captain defensemen Zdeno Chara.
Name: Zdeno Chara
Weight: 255 lbs.
Contract: UFA 2018
Cap hit: $6.9M per season
2011-12 NHL Season stats:
Regular season: 79 GP, 12-40-52, plus-33, 96 PIM, 224 SOG
Playoffs: 7 GP, 1-2-3, minus-1, 8 PIM, 21 SOG
What else can you say about this monster? He is more reliable than any player in the NHL appearing in 79 games for the black and gold. He is always in the conversation for the Norris Trophy finalists and he shuts down opposing top forwards night in and night out. Again in 2012, Zdeno Chara had a magnificent campaign. He had 12 goals and 40 assists-good for 52 points as a first-line defenseman.
Chara was a plus 33 while on the ice for the Bruins which is remarkable although he was third on his team as well as the league (Bergeron, Seguin). Big Z appeared in his 1000th game for the Bruins this season at the age of 35. He had 15 multi-point games as well as four fighting majors where the Bruins were 3-1 in those games. Chara had a five game point streak from March 25-April 1 where he had one goal and seven assists (8 P).
This man wears the C across his heart because he is a leader, a team player and a man who will do anything for his team to win. From his 108 MPH slap shot to his willingness to dive in front of opposing slap shots, Chara does it all. He is one of the most valuable players to tie up the skates in the National Hockey League.
Big Z did have lapses at times while on the ice, but not more than seconds of time. In the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs Big Z scored one goal and added two assists in seven games.
At the age of 35, Chara is still bringing “it” for the Bruins. He is as valuable a player as the Bruins have seen in a long-time. The 6’ 9’’ defenseman set a career high for points in a single-season (52) and Bruins fans would not be surprised if he breaks his own personal record in 2013. Zdeno Chara is one person the Bruins can ill-afford to lose because this man is rock solid and the heart beat of the Boston Bruins. (BA-BOOM, BA-BOOM!).
Final Grade: A
At age 35, Zdeno Chara continues to show why he is one of the elite defenseman in the National Hockey League and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Not only did the Bruins’ captain notch a career high 52 points (12 goals, 40 assists) through 79 games, but his plus-33 (tied for a career high) is another indication that he’s one of the top shutdown defenseman. And in the past two years, Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg have benefitted from skating with Chara, which is not a knock on either of those two guys either since they have more than held their own as they continue to hold the top two pairings on the Bruins’ back end.
Chara is once again up for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman along with Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators) and Shea Weber (Nashville Predators). I personally like the odds that the 6-9 defenseman will take home his second Norris Trophy in four years.
Final Grade: A
Two tough acts to follow….so I echo what both Tim and Chris said about Big Z — particularly how he makes his defensive partners even better. We saw it with Andrew Ference in the past as well. There are some who think that Chara may be a tad overrated and not worthy of his monster contract. But one thing I always say in his defense is, ‘you may not notice all the things he does on the ice, but you’ll notice it when he’s not.’ One of the most irreplaceable players on this team, the Bruins defense would go from stellar to average (at best) if No. 33 weren’t around.
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