Zdeno Chara isn’t the captain he once was. Perhaps he’s better than ever.
The Boston Bruins defenseman explained Tuesday in a conference call with season ticket holders how he has evolved as team captain since he first donned the “C” on his jersey in 2006. Chara used to be a do-it-all as the Bruins’ locker-room leader, but the passing of time has taught him the value of delegating some leadership responsibility to his trusted lieutenants.
“I think that early on in my captaincy years I tried to take everything up on my shoulders and tried to do a lot out there and everywhere and then took a lot of pressure on myself,” Chara said, per NHL.com’s Amelie Benjamin. “It was a challenging time.”
Benjamin indicates a change in Bruins management prompted the team to sign more experienced players, and Chara adapted his captaining style in response to the new arrivals.
“As the time went on, you started to realize that you have to share that leadership and responsibilities and we started getting more experienced players and players with experiences from winning Stanley Cups. Older players,” Chara said.
“So it really helped me to become a better captain, to have my teammates along with me. It’s just one of those things you have to accept certain situations and just go with it and use your instincts. Use your guts. Making some best decisions for the team and try to be yourself and never think of yourself any more or less than any other player. Try to do the best for the team.
One of the enduring lessons Chara has learned about leadership is the importance of supporting his teammates on and off the ice, and he has used this skill regularly during the pause in the NHL season.
“Being a friend, being a teammate, it’s always very important to me, helping younger players to adapt to the game the best I can from my experiences,” Chara concluded. “I just love the game. I don’t think it’s that much to do with the captaincy. It’s just to be there for my teammates, any shape, any way I can.”