Photo Credit: NHL.com
In a year where the Bruins are completely exceeding expectations, there is one player who is quietly underrated. For what it’s worth, it’s definitely fun to talk about how fun this team is – from the rookies, Patrice Bergeron is having a spectacular year to Tuukka Rask completely turning into a brick wall – it’s easy to overlook one specific player.
That player is the captain of this team and someone who is proving age is just a number: Zdeno Chara.
Big Z will be 41-years-old in less than a month, and the’s shown no signs of aging. Maybe it’s playing with young kids such as Charlie McAvoy, or maybe he’s adopting some Tom Brady-like diet.
Or maybe he’s continuing to be a consistent, solid defenseman.
He showed just how solid of a player he is in last week’s 3-2 comeback win over Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Chara was matched up against McDavid, who is arguably the games most dynamic offensive player, for 15:12 of the 17:40 he was on the ice.
During that time, Boston outshot Edmonton 12-4, and David Krejci scored the game-winning goal late in the third period. But what was truly amazing about Chara being matched up against McDavid for most of his ice time was McDavid’s final line: zero goals, zero assists, a minus-1 rating and had just two shots.
Those two shots came in a two-second span, and it was just the 10 time on the season McDavid was held to zero points in a game.
Zdeno Chara vs. Connor McDavid at 5v5 tonight: 20-12 CF/CA (62.5 CF%), 12-4 scoring chances favoring Bruins, and outscored them 1-0 in 15:12 of action.
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) February 21, 2018
Chara has always been a force on the ice season after season, but this 2017-18 season, much like the entire Bruins team, is exceeding expectations and is playing incredibly well at the age of 40.
His numbers aren’t anything spectacular – six goals and 11 assists doesn’t jump out at anyone – but his ice time most certainly does. The captain leads the team in average ice time with 23:20.
Chara has been the captain of this team for several years and this season especially is proving why he is continuing to be deserving of sporting the C. He is a veteran leader for the rookies and isn’t afraid to stand up for his teammates and drop the gloves.
We saw that this season against Anaheim when he went up against Ryan Getzlaf in January. No, he’s not a 20-year-old Charlie McAvoy or 21-year-old Jake DeBrusk – but Chara’s presence on the ice is something that needs to be paid attention to.
The black and gold are doing something spectacular this season. They’re in second place in the Atlantic Division during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year – and Chara is playing a significant role in where this team is in the standings.
Age is just a number, yes. New England sports fans see that every season with Tom Brady and what he does for the Patriots each year. But now Boston has another 40-year-old player to get excited about because it seems as if Chara is indeed an ageless wonder this season.