At 6-foot-8, Myers trails Chara by just one inch (and 30 pounds), but as seen in Saturday's battle, this 222-pound blue-liner has plenty of growing to do — as in growing under the skin of Bruins forwards and fans for years to come.
The 12th overall selection in 2008 also happens to trail Chara in age by 13 years. In fact, when B's forward Mark Recchi was in the midst of his second NHL season with the Penguins, Myers was just being born in Houston. Eighty inches and 19-plus years later and Myers is attempting to shut down the veteran winger on the ice.
"When you look at Myers, he’s a pretty good skater for his size," B's head coach Claude Julien told Enterprisenews.com. “He’s up the ice quite a bit, he’s young, you see him making those rookie mistakes once in a while, but he’s very active on the attack. Not just because he a scored a goal [Friday] night [in the Sabres’ 5-2 loss to Philadelphia], but throughout the whole game … he seems to be up the ice quite a bit because he skates well. For a guy his size, that’s a pretty good asset.”
Chara knows exactly what the young behemoth is going through, but don't think for a second that "Z" is going to warm up to Myers. In Saturday's win, Myers found his way deep into the Boston zone only to get a little taste of Chara's wrath when the B's captain finished a check on the Sabres defender, knocking the lanky kid to the ice.
Despite the chippy battle, Chara noticed something special about the big blue-liner.
"For big guys, it's always very important to move their feet and be able to skate and make good decisions," Chara told ESPNBoston.com. "The game back when I started, and the game now, is totally different. But obviously with a big guy like that, with a big reach, he can cover a lot of ice."
Through 14 games this year, Myers has three goals and five helpers to go with a plus-6 rating on Buffalo's stingy defensive unit. He assisted on Buffalo's second tally on Saturday by using his size to fend off a Bruins defender before using his reach to swing a perfect pass through the crease and onto Jason Pominville's blade for a goal.
But Myers isn't counted on to put the puck in the net — his job is to help keep it out, one at which he's done well so far in his first season. His size and skill have been a welcoming complement to goalie Ryan Miller's last line of attack, and the Sabres have allowed just 33 goals against this season, tying them with the Devils for fewest allowed.
"He plays like he's a veteran," Miller told NHL.com. "He's a great skater for being 19 years old, let alone being that size. He's got good hands, poise and takes direction really well — he's a good listener, is confident in his abilities and has been a model rookie."
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