Zdeno Chara is doing his part to not overhype the biggest storyline entering the Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals series.
The two sides are set to meet Saturday night in Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. Of course, that’ll pit Chara, who is playing for the Caps on a one-year deal, against the team he captained for 14 years.
He isn’t overthinking it.
“It’s playoff hockey,” Chara told reporters Saturday morning over Zoom. “I think that the teams that are in the playoffs battled hard throughout the whole season to get to the playoffs. The matchups are the matchups, but it’s an exciting part of the year. We all battled hard to get to the playoffs, so now it’s the time. …
“It’s another matchup, it’s another playoff year. So, it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
With youngsters like Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril vying for spots on the roster, Chara and the Bruins split this offseason.
The revenge storyline for Chara could be played up, but the 44-year-old, at least not outwardly, isn’t taking ill feelings into the series.
“No, it’s all about the team. It’s nothing personal. It’s just the way it worked out and that’s the way it is,” Chara said.
One of the subplots of this whole matchup has been Chara’s institutional knowledge of the Bruins. Brad Marchand said (joked?) that Chara knew the Bruins’ code words, a theory Cam Neely effectively squashed.
While Chara likely knows some stuff about the Bruins just by virtue of his lengthy Boston tenure, he also downplayed the significance.
“Obviously, playing them many times during the regular season probably gives enough information to the coaches to make decision and adjustments,” Chara said. “And of course in the playoffs, you make some adjustments as you go on.”
There reportedly were no shortage of suitors for Chara over the offseason. The second he chose the Capitals, there was hype about the possibility of this very situation coming to pass. He did his best to quell any speculation that this exact scenario is why he chose the Capitals over a team outside the division.
“There’s always possibilities, but I didn’t look at what the other circumstances would be. I was looking at what would be the best fit for me.”
Puck drop for Game 1 is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.