1400th career game a success for Zdeno Chara
Forty is treating Boston athletes well.
On a night where Tom Brady was named Most Valuable Player by the NFL for the third time in his career, Zdeno Chara completed a milestone of his own.
Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs was a special one for the Bruins captain, marking the 1400th game of his NHL career. To put that in perspective, the other seven defensemen on the roster for Saturday’s contest (Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Adam McQuaid, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and Paul Postma) have a combined total of 1,477 NHL games played.
“It’s a special, special moment, [a] special night. There’s so many people I should be thanking, and it obviously starts with my family – my parents, my wife, my kids – for all their support over the course of the years,” Chara said postgame. “I said it in the room too, that in our business, you are obviously measured by wins and losses, but those moments when you have those highs and lows, that’s when you really rely on your teammates to support you and give you the special, special push and energy.”
Chara owns a 20-year tenure in the NHL — spending his last 12 with the B’s — and has given no hint of the end being near. Instead, Chara is quietly putting together another excellent year in what has so far been a very impressive season for the Bruins.
The Slovak was quick to praise this year’s squad.
“Over the course of 20-plus years, I’ve been very lucky that I had really good teammates that I could always rely on, and this group is very special,” he said. “We have many players with so many great personalities that I feel very fortunate to have the teammates that I have. So, it’s a special team.”
‘Special’ is the perfect word to describe the 6-foot-9 giant. Chara has done wonders for the Bruins over the course of the last 12 years. From turning the team around during his first few seasons to bringing the Stanley Cup back to Boston, Chara has grown into one of the franchise’s all-time greats.
Though he will be a free agent at season’s end, the defenseman should be back in Boston next season. And signs indicate he has no plans of hanging up the skates anytime soon.
“I enjoy playing the game. I said it many times – anytime you guys ask me: I can’t put a number on it [when I will retire], but I want to continue to play,” Chara insisted. “I feel great, I enjoy working hard, I want to get better continuously, and so I want to play until I can and be effective. Like I said, it’s fun. It’s fun being around guys and see how they’re growing as a player, as a person. So, yeah, those are the days I’m really looking forward to and I don’t want to be finishing playing yet.”
As for Saturday, Chara was solid and reliable as ever. While picking up an assist in the victory, Chara also tied David Backes with five shots and plus-2 rating — both team highs.
Looks like this 40-year-old is going nowhere, and who can blame him.