Zdeno Chara Draws Chris Chelios’ Praise Ahead Of Record-Setting Game

'Congratulations to him, it's a heck of a feat'

by

February 24

If Chris Chelios must relinquish one of his records, he’s content to pass it on to Zdeno Chara.

The NHL legend hailed the New York Islanders defenseman as a “class act” this week as Chara prepares to set a “remarkable” NHL record for most games played by a defenseman.

Chelios and Chara are tied for first place with 1,651 games played, and Chara will eclipse Chelios on Thursday night when the Islanders visit the San Jose Sharks.

“(It’s remarkable), especially for a guy his size (6-foot-9, 250 pounds), how long he’s lasted and how effective he’s been throughout his career,” Chelios told NHL.com’s Brian Compton on Tuesday. “I’ve met Zdeno a couple of times and spoke with him, but you talk with anyone around the league, he’s just a great guy, great team guy.

“I’m not going to say I’m happy, but it doesn’t bother me one bit that a guy like him is the guy breaking the record. Congratulations to him, it’s a heck of a feat.”

Chelios offered further praise Wednesday, once again focusing on how Chara carries himself on and off the ice.

“He’s just a class act,” Chelios told the New York Post’s Ethan Sears on Wednesday. “He has been his whole career.”

Chelios joins Bobby Orr among NHL greats who are tapping their proverbial sticks for Chara ahead of his record-setting game.

How far Chara, 44, extends that record remains to be seen. His contract with the struggling Islanders expires after this season, and he could consider retiring afterward.

Then again, Chara reportedly is drawing trade interest ahead of the March 21 NHL deadline, and a change of scenery might prompt him to play on.

Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images
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