Article written by: Jonathan Camponovo
Welcome to this new NHL Corner’s article.
Ice hockey is a sport made of sacrifices, injuries, battles and so on. When it comes to all these factors, Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins’ captain – is the perfect example.
The 42 years old defenseman had some terrific 2019 playoffs and we think it’s fair to say few words about him. We’ll talk about his career and his skills. About his main achievements and records… without forgetting his last playoffs.
22 NHL seasons… a great leader
Zdeno Chara was born in Trencin (Slovakia) on March 3rd, 1977. He started to play hockey in his hometown. It took no time to understand that this guy’s got skills… he even played in the youth organization of Sparta Prague and made the debut with the first team. That game, however, remained the only one for Chara in Czech Republic. Right, because the NHL scouts already put their eyes on him as he was drafted in 1996 by the New York Islanders in 56th position.
After that, he played 22 seasons in the NHL… 1485 Regular Season games and 182 playoffs games with the jerseys of Islanders, Ottawa (the Senators traded him in 2001) and Boston… with the Bruins he won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
There are few things that impress the fans when it comes to Zdeno Chara. First of all his size. Zdeno is 205cm and his weight is 113kg. The physical game is one of the main’s strengths of this player. Moreover, it’s difficult to take the puck away from him. Let us not forget, finally, that he’s a great penalty killer. Generally, it’s very difficult for the opponents to score goals when he’s on the ice. His “+/-“ stat speaks for itself, after all… Zdeno Chara has a +262 during the Regular Season and a +53 during playoffs! He’s been the Boston Bruins’ captain since 2006 and this means that he’s a great leader. He never slacks off when it comes to defending his teammates and fighting has always been part of his game.
It’s important to stress though, that even considering his size and main skills, Chara always had good numbers when it comes to points scored. That proves that he’s a complete player. Despite his defensive style in fact, Zdeno Chara is a pivotal player during power-play situations and thanks to his impressive shot he scored a lot. In fact, he tallied 200 goals and 442 assists in 1458 NHL appearances.
We show you a video that proves how Chara can score points.
This player is having a great career and is still a crucial player. Boston in fact, extended his contract until the end of next season when he will be 43!
Other than a brillant NHL career, finally, the Slovakian even played 7 world ice hockey championships (he won the silver medal in 2000) and took part in 3 olypmic games.
Some of Zdeno Chara’s achievements
Zdeno Chara’s achievements are countless.
Earlier in his career, he was in the AHL all star team as the best rookie in 1998. After that, he earned the call of the New York Islanders.
Back in 2004, while playing for Ottawa, he was in the NHL All Star team thanks to a fantastic season during which he had 16 goals and 25 assists. The same year, moreover, he was also selected in the All Star Team of the World Ice Hockey Championship played in Czech Republic.
In 2006, he was again among the 5 best NHL players in his last season as a Senator in Ottawa.
When he transferred to Boston – 2006-07 season – he was selected for the All Star Game and was the player with the highest TOI – 28 minutes a game – of the league. He immediately became a pivotal player for the Bruins and was named the Captain of the team.
Zdeno played two more All Star Games in his career – 2008 and 2009 – and he even won the Norris Trophy that is awarded to the best defenseman of the season.
During the 2010-11 season – the best one for him – he finally won the Stanley Cup. He played the All Star Game, he was in the NHL All Star Team, and he won the Mark Messier award as the best player as regard of skills and leadership.
Even if you want to make a sum up, his achievements are so many.
Zdeno Chara, moreover, holds some personal records. Here are the main ones…
* Back in 2009, during the All Star Game, he recorded the hardest shot (169km/h). During the following video, you can see it. To note also the presence of Mark Streit (nr. 2 of the New York Islanders).
* Zdeno Chara played 14 playoffs’ game-7. No one played more “game-7” than him. This last season he broke Scott Stevens and Patrick Roy’s records!
* Zdeno Chara is 205cm and that makes him the tallest player who ever played in the NHL. His size is impressive and almost scares the opponents.
* Zdeno Chara holds the record (together with Marian Hossa) for the number of times he was named Slovakian player of the year (6 times). We mean, Zdeno is a real legend in his own country.
2019 playoffs were an emblem of his great career
Zdeno Chara proved during the last playoffs why he’s among the graetest NHL players of this century.
He’s rock-solid in defense, he can be effective in the offensive zone, he can play physical.
This player is so important to Boston that, oftentimes, he was playing without a break a whole penalty killing situation!
If you’re interested, here is our analysis of the Stanley Cup final.
What hits us the most though, it’s his leadership. He always has the right words and the right attitude. Together with the former Lugano Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno showed what ice hockey is really all about. Especially during the playoffs in fact, you pay the price if you want to win the 16 games that crown you Stanley Cup Champions.
Zdeno Chara played also when situation looked impossible. During the Stanley Cup final, he got injured twice… yet, he still played!
The first injury came during game-3 in St. Louis, when a puck hit him on the wrist (which is unprotected) during a penatly killing situation. That forced him to play with a prosthesis the rest of the final.
The second injury, the worst one, game during game-4 when he suffered a multiple fracture of the jaw. He played then the rest of the final with a plate on his face, his mouth stitched (he couldn’t even talk!) and a special helmet, as a consequence. Despite everything, he played the last three games of the season. Here is the impressive video of this injury…
During the third period of that game-4… Zdeno Chara came back on the bench and, even though he didn’t play a shift, he was going on the ice during the breaks in order to encourage all his teammates.
During the last three games of the season then, he played over 19 minutes a game!
These are things that make ice hockey unbelievable. And players like Zdeno Chara can impress fans every day.
We think it was a must to write a piece about the Slovakian. A player that perhaps is not spectacular as others, but a player who is crucial when things get tough.
A player that every coach want in his team!