There’s no questioning Zdeno Chara’s toughness, even at 42 years old.
The Boston Bruins defenseman never let anything get in his way while on the ice, including a severely broken jaw he suffered during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Chara missed the remainder of the game, but was back on the ice for Game 5 when he received a rousing ovation from the TD Garden crowd that nearly moved him to tears.
It was revealed after the heartbreaking Game 7 loss just how severe his injury was and made Chara’s efforts on the ice for the remainder of the series that much more incredible.
And Cam Neely, for one, knows how special of a player Chara is.
“First and foremost, (Chara) loves to play, he loves to compete and he wants to win,” the B’s president told NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. “The broken jaw was a great example of that. I believe he was hurt on a Tuesday and I went to see him on Wednesday morning, and he was ready to get out of the hospital after surgery.
“You see him in the lineup Thursday night. You probably see more hockey players doing it, but I just don’t know how many athletes you see doing that,” Neely added. “It speaks to where he felt he should be, where he wanted to be and that he’s 42 years old and in the Stanley Cup Final. Who knows when he’ll be able to get there again?
“… He’s done so much for this organization and he really helped turn things around (for the franchise) when he got here. He’s been a great ambassador, not only for us with the Bruins and for this city but for the game itself.”
No arguments here.
Chara signed a one-year contract extension with Boston in March, so he’ll be gearing up for his 22nd (!) NHL season and 14th with the Bruins.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images