Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara reached another impressive milestone in his illustrious NHL career on February 3rdwhen he appeared in his 1,400th regular-season NHL contest. The big blue liner from Slovakia made it count too as Boston downed Atlantic Division rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 at home. And although he’s going to turn 41 on his next birthday, Chara says he has no intention of retiring and would like to extend his career by a few more years if possible. The win against the Leafs proved Chara still has what it takes to be a leader in the NHL as he was on the ice for 24 minutes, finished the game a plus 2 and killed off five minutes worth of penalties. He also helped shut down the Leafs’ speedy forwards such as Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Auston Matthews.
The future Hall of Famer finished the game tied for first place in the league with a Plus 27 mark on the season, the same as forward William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights. Chara has been playing the same way ever since he broke into the league with the New York Islanders in 1997/98 when he was drafted 56th overall in 1996. He was then traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001/02 and finally ending up with the Bruins in 2006/07 when he signed as a free agent. He’s played 870 of his 1,400 games with the Bruins and helped them win a Stanley Cup in the 2010/11 campaign. Chara has four goals and 10 assists this season with 192 goals and 426 assists for 618 points in his career. He’s a plus 245 in his 1,400 games and has added 59 points in 147 playoff outings. Fans should also remember he’s a seven-time All Star and won the Norris Trophy in 2008/09.
Chara said his longevity is due to the support he received from his parents when he was growing up as well as his wife and children in the past few years. He admitted that the milestone game was a special moment in his career and he also owes a lot to his current and former teammates as well as all of the coaches he’s played for and of course the fans. Currently, the 6-foot-9-inch defender ranks fourth on the all-time games played list for active players and ranks 39th in history. The only current players who have appeared in more contests than Chara are Jaromir Jagr at 1,733), Patrick Marleau with 1,547 Joe Thornton at 1,493 and Matt Cullen with 1,416 games under his belt.
Chara may soon find himself at number three on the current list though since it looks like Jagr and the Calgary Flames will be parting ways and his NHL career may finally be coming to an end. He said he still enjoys playing the game, competing and working hard on the ice every night and still believes he can improve and learn new things even at his age. He added that as long as he still feels great and can be an effective player then he won’t be thinking about hanging up his skates. Chara will turn 41 before the NHL season ends and the ways he’s performing it’s expected that the Bruins will try to re-sign him for another year or two once his contract expires in June.