Zdeno Chara Reflects On Importance Of Helping Change Bruins Culture

'Because with that, you cannot win'


September 20

BOSTON — When Zdeno Chara signed with the Boston Bruins in 2006 the team needed to rebuild and change its culture.

Chara did just that during his 14 seasons with the B’s.

The 45-year-old signed a one-day contract with Boston to retire with the organization after spending the final two seasons of his career with the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. Chara announced his retirement via Instagram and held a press conference at TD Garden. He was presented with his No. 33 jersey, which inevitably will hang in the Garden rafters at some point.

Chara had faith that the Bruins organization could be turned around and over the next 14 seasons — all of which he captained — and to say that happened would be an understatement. The Bruins missed the playoffs just three times during Chara’s tenure and made three Stanley Cup Final appearances.

So, why did Chara want to change the culture with a brand new team?

“Because without that, you cannot win. You need a culture,” Chara said Tuesday. “You don’t win without it. It wasn’t just me. It was team effort. I would never have done it without Patrice (Bergeron) or without Brad (Marchand) following Patrice’s lead. We set goals. It was hard in the beginning. Not everyone wanted to change, but it was necessary.”

Chara, Bergeron and Marchand went to win their only Stanley Cup together in 2011 after an incredible Stanley Cup playoff run that ended in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks. But the 6-foot-9 defenseman won’t take credit for winning the Cup or changing the culture because he knew at the end of the day, it was a full team effort.

“If you say what it means to me, I will correct you to it means to us. I mean, we won it together. It’s not me because I was the captain. We did it together we had such a committed group,” Chara said. “Like I said, we all bought into what we did. We made commitments to each other and to the team and organization. So to finally accomplish it and winning Stanley Cup, it was such a relief and it’s such a happy moment for everybody because we did it together.

“We did it as a group and the celebrations and it’s just something we will never forget. You ask any of us that’s the best memories we have. … I think it’s pretty special with the city, the fan base. That’s just it’s pretty, pretty special. So I’m very happy. This is our home. My kids were born here and we call it home and we love the city and the fans.”

It’s hard to wonder how the Bruins would have fared over those 14 years had Chara not been a part of them, but he left his mark on not only the team, but the city of Boston, as well.

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