BOSTON — While Tom Brady’s age gets most of the attention when talking about senior Boston athletes, Zdeno Chara isn’t exactly a spring chicken himself.
The Boston Bruins defenseman is 41 years old and will turn 42 next month. Chara still shoulders a huge load and skates on the top pairing, regardless of who the mate is to his right.
But the reality is, and it’s to no fault or lack of preparation of his own, but Chara isn’t the perennial Norris Trophy contender he once was. And with the Bruins needing him to be at his best down the stretch, head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked after Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the New York Islanders if Chara would start getting rest on the second game of back-to-backs.
While it’s not something expected to happen right away, as in Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers, Cassidy didn’t rule out the possibility.
“It may come to that,” Cassidy said. “That’ll be a discussion I have with Zee. He prides himself in his fitness, so he will not be amenable to that, I’ll tell you that right now. He’s a proud athlete, wants to play every night. If it’s best for this hockey club and the Boston Bruins then we’ll do it. I don’t think we’ll do it tomorrow, but at some point, we’ll have to look at it, discuss it with the person.”
Although at one point the Bruins simply were decimated by injuries at the blue line, those days, for now, are behind them. Because of that, they wouldn’t be totally hosed defensively if they gave Chara a breather.
John Moore, who was signed to a five-year deal this offseason, recently has been scratched but is more than capable of being a big contributor. Steven Kampfer, though he’s been omitted from the lineup in each of the last 16 games, certainly could plug in for one game.
The Bruins need Chara in peak form, and whether or not he’s amenable to it, resting him on occasion may prove to be a prudent move.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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