WILMINGTON, Mass. — Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is a really, really big human being. This bit of information is no secret, of course, and it’s been played out over and over again during the defenseman’s career.
His 6-foot-9 frame is in the news once again, as a reported photo of Chara’s bed in the Olympic Village surfaced upon his arrival in Sochi for the Winter Games. The big D-man apparently put an ottoman at the end of the small-ish bed to catch a little shut-eye during his time in Russia.
His teammates and coach weren’t necessarily surprised to hear of this innovative solution for dealing with the somewhat less-than-ideal accommodations the athletes will face in Sochi.
“I heard they just put a futon at the end of the bed and that’s it,” Bruins goalie and fellow Olympian Tuukka Rask said after Bruins practice Friday. “When you’re that tall, what can you do, right? You’ve just gotta deal with it.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who is also going to be on his way to Russia this weekend, said that dealing with these types of issues is nothing new for Chara. After all, when you live life at almost 7 feet tall, you get used to having to adjust some things here and there for optimal comfort.
“No, I haven’t [seen his bed], but he did tell me he was going to try to put a couple of beds together,” Julien said Friday. “See if that could help. I’m not sure they built those accommodations for 6-foot-9 athletes, but he’ll make due. He’s been through that a few times.”
Don’t expect Chara or any of his teammates — Rask, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson are all about to join Chara in Sochi — to openly complain about the small beds and cramped quarters during their time at the Olympics. Many hockey players come from modest beginnings and are also used to making sacrifices in order to play the game. For whatever reason, a lot of hockey players don’t let that attitude change, even as they become extremely wealthy by playing professional hockey.
“Hockey guys are pretty low key when it comes to that,” Rask said. “We don’t care if it’s a one-star hotel or a five-star hotel. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. It’s going to be different, but I think it’s going to be fun. When you’re with your countrymen and your buddies you don’t normally see, it’s cool to hang out with them 24/7.”
Then again, maybe it’s best that these types of accommodations aren’t permanent.
“But thank goodness it’s only two weeks,” Rask added.