Zdeno Chara had many noteworthy moments throughout his 14 seasons playing in Boston, but Bruins president Cam Neely knows which one describes the gigantic defenseman the best.
For Neely, it came following Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues when Chara decided to play the rest of the series with a broken jaw.
Neely pulled back the curtain Tuesday when speaking to reporters at Chara’s retirement ceremony at TD Garden on the events leading to Chara getting a thunderous ovation from the home crowd during pregame introductions of Game 5.
“I went to go visit him after he broke his jaw in the playoffs in ’19 at the hospital, and he’s telling me he’s playing Game 5,” Neely told reporters, per video tweeted out by the Bruins. “… To me, that just showed everything about Zdeno, just not only the toughness, but the commitment and understanding there’s only so many kicks at the can that he wanted to be a part of it. So, I give him all the credit in the world. I don’t know how many athletes could do that.”
It’s pretty amazing Chara played through that significant of an injury and didn’t even miss a single game. Chara just kept lacing up his skates and averaged over 18 minutes of ice time over the final three games of the series while also scoring a goal in Boston’s Game 6 victory on the road.
Like Neely, Bruins fans will certainly remember Chara gutting it out as one of the unforgettable moments of his illustrious career.