BOSTON — Zdeno Chara will go down in Boston Bruins history for a number of reasons.
But will he get the ultimate honor of having his number retired to the TD Garden rafters?
Chara on Tuesday signed a one-day contract and retired as a member of the Bruins after an NHL career than spanned a quarter-century. The 45-year-old believed he had more games in him, but wanted to be home with his family after spending the last two seasons with the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders while his family stayed in Boston.
A leader in every sense of the word, Chara captained the Bruins for 14 seasons and completely changed the culture of the Original Six franchise. He won a Norris Trophy, had several All-Star Game appearances, won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and helped lead the team to two other Final appearances. Chara also put his body on the line every night, including playing through a severely broken jaw in Game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
Chara became just the sixth defenseman to play in 1,500 NHL games in 2019 before totaling 1,680. The defenseman racked up 70 points in 200 playoff games, amassed 680 career points, earned the Mark Messier Leadership Award and appeared in 11 playoffs during his 14 years with the Bruins.
Over the course of his career, Chara truly redefined the D-man position and was an incredibly tough opponent, standing a 6-foot-9. His physically and hockey IQ made him a terrifying player to play against.
Those are just a few of his accolades, but if you ask team president Cam Neely about whether Chara will have his number retired, his answer couldn’t be any clearer.
“Yeah, I mean with all he’s done for the franchise, it’s kind of a no-brainer,” Neely said at TD Garden after Chara’s retirement press conference.
So now it’s only a matter of time until the Bruins pick a date to honor Big Zee so he can watch No. 33 be raised to where it belongs.