Zdeno Chara Continues to be Important Piece of Bruins’ Bluelineby Jamie Gatlin December 15, 2019 0 comments
For more than the past decade, Zdeno Chara has been a constant presence on the Bruins blueline. During that time, the Slovakian native has not only been one of the leagues best but a leader for the franchise. While Chara is not the player he once was, the former third-round pick is still key to the Bruin’s success. So far this season, he has reminded fans of his value while stepping up when needed most. The season is still far from over, but Chara is in the midst of an impressive year at age 42.
After only recording 14 points last year, Chara already has 13 in 34 games. The Bruins captain has matched his goal total from last season and has two game-winning goals. He has landed 47 shots on net and been more aggressive offensively as his shooting percentage is currently at 9.8, nearly doubling his total from the 2018-19 campaign.
Fighting Zdeno Chara…still not a good idea pic.twitter.com/Lt9Vyu6VKv
— Matt Castle (@Matt_Castle22) December 12, 2019
While Chara’s offense has been a welcoming addition, he has continued to lead the Bruins’ defensemen. The 41-year-old has blocked 55 shots so far and recorded 41 hits. He is also averaging 21:14 on the ice per game, a mark that is higher than his total from last season. Of late, however, he has proven his value as his team has struggled.
In two of the Bruins’ last three games, Chara has played the enforcer role and dropped the gloves. As the Bruins were mired in their worst stretch of the season so far, Chara tried to light a spark. Although Chara does not fight a lot, he has shown that this team will not back down from any challenge.
While Chara’s play has been impressive, he has also reached a few milestones so far this season. In early November, the veteran blueliner played in his 1,500th game, becoming only the sixth defenseman to accomplish the feat in NHL history. Through it all, however, Chara has remained the same as the game around him has changed.
As the Bruins look to return to the postseason, Chara will again be an important piece. He has five goals and eight assists at even-strength surpassing his total from last season. At 42, he is still playing at a high level and holding his own against the league’s best alongside Charlie McAvoy.
While Chara’s career is winding down, his importance to Boston has not wavered. The Bruins wouldn’t have it any other way as their captain’s performance has continued to meet high expectations.