Zdeno Chara turned 43 two weeks ago, which (relatively speaking) makes him a dinosaur in today’s NHL, but if you listen to his opponents, it’s clear the Boston Bruins captain is still a force on the ice.
As the NHL continues its pause amid the global coronavirus outbreak, it’s unclear when (or even if) the 2019-20 NHL season will resume. But as we all sit and wait, the NHL is looking for different ways to get its players out there, as evidenced by conference calls featuring some of the NHL’s best players.
Players from Atlantic Division teams, Chara included, “met” with the media Monday on a videoconference call. One of the questions posed to each player was what they miss least about playing each of the other three players on the call.
Here’s what each player had to say about Chara:
Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk
“The cross-checks in front of the net, those are something I definitely don’t miss. When he lays the lumber on the shoulder, it definitely doesn’t feel as good. I’ve grown up watching him and met him at a couple of All-Star Games when we were younger, and he was always super nice to us.”
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin
“I think just his competitiveness. His long stick, you can’t get around him or get by him. … We have Doug Houda who had Big Z in Boston who just says ‘Skate by him,’ but you can’t. … I definitely don’t miss when that puck does get by him and you have to go in the corner to get it back from him. You know he’s gonna get a piece of you somehow. I don’t miss that.”
Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares
“I can certainly echo the price you’ve gotta pay to go in front of the net against Big Z. I think also there might be no worse situation than kind of being stuck along the boards and being angled off by the big man and know you’ve gotta embrace for one of those body checks. You’ve just gotta hope that everything stays in place. I’ve blocked a couple of his (slap shots) which I thought they shattered a few bones but luckily escaped. He’s got a bomb as well. A lot of good battles over the years. His longevity, the intensity that he plays with consistently, you know you have to be ready to play because he’s not taking any shift for granted or off.”