“There is no other defenseman I’d trade him for in the National Hockey League,” head coach Claude Julien told NESN’s Jamie Erdahl after the Boston Bruins 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders Monday night.
Amongst the players who recorded multi-point nights, captain Zdeno Chara scored his 12th goal of the season, and in the process, recorded his 500th career NHL point.
A remarkable milestone for a defenseman who is known for his toughness and shutdown defense not his ability to accumulate points.
“He’s a really good all-around player and I’m really happy for him that he’s accomplished that,” Julien said.
The soft spoken Chara, even after an individual milestone that many defenseman would kill to have, didn’t gloat too much about the accomplishment. But, in typical “Big Z” fashion, he was very thankful.
Chara can do it all folks. It is no secret and it hasn’t been a secret since the day he put on a Bruins sweater. From his presence on the ice to his leadership on and off the ice, Chara is the straw the stirs the drink for this team.
The Bruins are 10-0-0 this season when Chara finds the back of the net. When he does give the B’s that extra lift, they are tough to beat.
With three goals in his last two games, Chara has been on the offensive as of late.
“Because he doesn’t rush the puck Bobby Orr style I guess, we tend to forget that he still brings some really good offense,” Julien said.
His numbers are never eye popping, but the intangibles that the 6-foot-9 defenseman brings on the ice are one of the reasons why Julien stated he wouldn’t trade his beast of a defenseman.
His net front presence on the power-play all season long has been another curve Julien threw into the mix this season and it has worked tremendously. Not all of Chara’s eight power-play goals have resulted in him being in front of the net, but the majority of them have.
With his long reach and ability to get to “the spot” before his opposition is something one cannot take for granted.
We saw Sunday night in Boston what it is like to see Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in another uniform and the response from the crowd they received due to their illustrous careers for the hometown. If Zdeno Chara ever left the B’s for any reason and came back and skated out from the other dressing room, one can bet the crowd will give the same response as Pierce and Garnett received if not louder and longer.
Players like Chara do not come along too often. He is durable, he is a leader and he is one hell of a hockey player.
Cherish these moments and milestones with your captain, Bruins fans. There won’t be another player like him for quite some time to don a Black and Gold sweater.