The longtime Bruins captain hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011 and, more importantly, demonstrated a first-class work ethic and professionalism, forever endearing him to the fan base and the organization.
So, understandably, many Bruins fans are going to temporarily put their love for Chara aside — as they did Wednesday night at TD Garden while rooting against the 44-year-old defenseman in Boston’s 3-2, double-overtime win.
“It means they’re loyal to the crest, right? He’s wearing a different crest, that’s the way I look at it,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters Thursday during a video conference when asked about Boston fans throwing some jeers in Chara’s direction in Game 3. “Good for them. We want them on our side. They’re in our building.
“I’m sure it’s all in sort of playoff-, no friends-type of mentality. I know every hockey fan in the city of Boston — and beyond, for that matter — has the ultimate respect for Zee and what he’s done for hockey, but he’s in a Caps crest now and that’s the enemy. So that’s the way I look at it. I did not hear it. But again, it doesn’t surprise me. Bruins fans are Bruins fans, as exactly as we’d expect.”
Let’s be clear: It’s not like Bruins fans started showering Chara with boos Wednesday as Boston’s first-round series against Washington shifted to TD Garden. We’re simply talking about a few jeers here and there, which is to be expected in the heat of battle.
Obviously, Bruins fans are fired up about their team’s chances of making a deep playoff run, and Boston in Game 3 moved one step closer to advancing after Craig Smith took advantage of Ilya Samsonov’s miscue in double OT to net the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
The B’s and Caps will return to the ice Friday night on NESN with Boston leading the series 2-1. Puck drop from TD Garden is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, with NESN’s pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m.