This probably should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed his career, but there won’t be much complaining about the NHL’s return to play format from Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins, relatively speaking, were on the short end of the stick, as the NHL earlier this week announced its plans to return from the COVID-19 pause that began in March. Despite holding an eight-point lead in the Eastern Conference at the time of the pause, the Bruins will have to play a round-robin tournament with the East’s other top three teams to determine seeding in the proper “playoffs.”
That is undoubtedly unfair to the Bruins, but when you’re dealing with a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime situation, you have to make do with what you have. Not only is Chara refraining from complaint, he also embraces the opportunity presented to his team.
“It’s one of those things you can’t really blame anyone or feel it’s unfair,” Chara said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I think for us, we have to be grateful for the opportunity we’re getting when you look at the real-life perspective and what other people’s family, businesses are going through. We get an opportunity to start almost where we ended the season.
“… We have to be grateful for the opportunity and taking it as a huge motivation, excitement and kind of embrace it.”
Bruins president Cam Neely said Wednesday he was “disappointed” by the news, but he also was able to have perspective about what it all means for his team.
“To kind of maybe have three games dictate where we fall in the conference standings is somewhat disappointing, but the fact remains these are unchartered times for everybody,” he said. “We’re just hoping we can eventually get back on the ice and play meaningful hockey games.”
Chara is in the same boat when it comes to that gratefulness for being back on the ice, applauding those — especially the players union and player reps — who worked to get something done with the league.
“Obviously fans will enjoy it, for sure. It’s never a perfect scenario,” he said. “It’s not going to be set in stone as you would have after an 82-game regular season, so I think you have to give these guys a lot of credit because they had to work very hard to come up with the format presented.”