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A New Record For Chara

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins - It was a flashback of sorts for Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, as he skated around the ice at Scotiabank Place with the crowd on its feet.

But they weren't celebrating a goal or an assist for the home team Senators -- Chara's old team from 2001-06 -- they were celebrating history.

Not only did Chara break his own record (105.9 mph) with a 106.4 mph slap shot in his first attempt, but he set it again minutes later with a blistering 108.8 mph slap shot en route to winning his fifth-straight hardest shot competition.

"[The reaction] was great, very supportive," Chara said. "Very happy with the standing ovation - it was very much appreciated.

"I was also glad I could break the record here in Ottawa where I played and spent some time - some great years."

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, who was paired with Chara in last year's contest, set the bar high with a 104.9 mph shot.

But Chara answered and broke his 2011 record, and after Weber's second attempt, the captain of Team Chara blasted his own record.

"You know I was surprised with that myself," Chara said. "But yeah, I said before every All-Star hardest shot I try to do my best and improve and it worked.

"It was a great feeling. I didn't see the number until I peeked over the guys because the radar was kind of late to show the numbers, but when I saw it was 108.8 I was surprised myself, but obviously very happy."

In the finals, Chara put together 106.9 and 107 to defeat Weber, who followed close behind at 106.

"[Weber's] one of the best shooters in the league, he has a really hard shot," Chara said. "But we've been paired together for the last few years and I know how hard he shoots. You just, like I said go out and try to do your best."

In the last three contests, Chara has set and re-set the record. In 2009, he broke Al Iafrate's 16-year record with 105.4, and since then he has only distanced himself from any hopeful contenders.

For forward Tyler Seguin, watching his teammate torch the clock was his favorite part of the night.

"I know he worked hard to improve and to see him to do that, I couldn't be happier," he said. "It was one thing last year being part of it, and after I said to the media I don't think anyone will ever beat it again.

"It's pretty incredible."

What would be even more incredible is if Chara topped out at 110 mph. For the six-foot-nine inch defenseman, it's certainly a possibility.

"We'll see," Chara said. "I want to be better every season when I step on the ice. In everything I do, I want to do better and improve so hopefully I can keep going."

--- Anthony Gulizia
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