It was suppose to be an experiment with Zdeno Chara causing havoc in front of the net on the Bruins power-play and last night he netted two goals on the man-advantage.
The power-play has new personnel and strategy, and with the 6-foot-9 captain in front of the net – is that such a bad thing?
We saw last night first hand that Chara obstructing any goaltender’s vision is a great scheme for the black and gold. His build, his long reach and his vision play a larger role than his 104 mph slap shot.
Although Chara played mostly in front of the net on the power-play last night, Claude Julien knows it’s a long season and things will change each game.
“I think when you looked at the goalie on that first goal, he tipped it in and he was in front with a lot of chaos going on and a lot of loose pucks so he creates some havoc in front there,” said the Bruins coach. “I think he did a good job and as I mentioned, you’re going to see him at the point at times and on that 5 on 3 you saw what his shot can do as well from back there. So we continue to look at that and we may start with that and may switch during the season. 82 games is a long year guys so nothing is carved in stone.”
Julien also knows there are a lot more qualities in Chara in front of the net than most people think and he talked about it post-game.
Chara is known for his shut down defense on the Crosby’s, Ovechkin’s and Stamkos’ of the world, but this offensive change on the power-play for Chara at times is very interesting. It could generate the Black and Gold offense in the dirty areas as seen last night versus the Washington Capitals.
Chara is indifferent on where he plays on the power-play whether if it is at the point or down low, he just listens to his coaches.
“I like to compete in those areas,” Chara said. “However the coaching staff decides to use me, I’m fine with that. Right now we are trying different looks on the power-play and one of them is me being in front.”
Chara wouldn’t tip his cap on whether he likes playing up front on the power-play when asked post-game last night. He was just concentrating on keeping things simple and working hard.
“We are just getting used to it,” Chara said. “It’s not always working the way we want, but that’s the way it is sometimes. We aren’t always getting the perfect looks, but at times we have to keep it simpler and always work hard. It doesn’t matter who we have over there, we just have to keep out working those four guys.”
It will be very fascinating to see where Julien will put Chara on the power-play in the first week of the season. It is not such a bad thing to park him in front of the net with his skill set and long reach. Let the arguments commence.