BOSTON, MA -- Asked about the Bruins attempt to repeat as Stanley Cup champs, Boston captain Zdeno Chara said it was "tough to describe" the B's quarterfinal defeat by the Washington Capitals as a defense of their 2011 title.
"It’s a little bit of a different story," said Chara. "If you are eliminated in the first round, you can’t really say it’s tough to repeat or defend because you’re eliminated so early.
If you move on past the second or the third round and possibly can play in the Final then I’m sure it’s much harder."
Obviously, the B's early exit didn't sit well with anyone, but was particularly hard on Boston's Norris Trophy candidate.
Chara talked about the B's regular season, and said that the B's faced plenty of adversity - especially since the spoked-B became a target for teams who looked to take down the Cup champions early in the 2011-12 season.
"You get that special attention and more jump from other teams," explained Chara. "I thought...it took us the first month of the season and we started to play [more] desperate hockey and we saw what happened after that.
"We went on a roll and we were almost unbeatable."
Unfortunately, the B's were far from unbeatable in the second half of the season, which saw few highlights save Chara's record-breaking 108-mph shot at All-Star Weekend in Ottawa and the B's defenseman's 1000th career game in Los Angeles.
The latter provided the Bruins captain a life-ling memory, and as each member of the Black & Gold returned to their locker room stall for the final time last Friday, Chara made sure his teammates had a memory of the game as well.
Chara framed personalized pictures of him with each respective teammate, with a copy of the boxscore.
"I think every player who reaches a certain milestone gets something from his team and in my case I got really nice gift from the guys for myself and my family," said Chara. "I just wanted to make sure what I experience, I want to make sure they get back and it’s just something I really appreciate.
"I love every guy we have in this room and I’m very proud to be their teammate and it’s just a memory for them to have maybe later on and as well for myself.
"I felt it was a special day in my career and for sure they were a big part of it," said Chara, who added, "It’s the way I like to treat my guys."
For now, Chara will head to hockey's World Championships to represent Slovakia, but the big blueliner was already taking about next September when he and his "guys" will reconvene with a large chip on their collective shoulder.
"I think every season there’s something to prove," said Chara."For sure, it’s something right now we sit back and relax, but at the same time we shouldn’t be ignoring the fact we came up short – shorter than we were counting on.
"So yeah, I think every season you have something to prove and I think next year should be an exciting year for us to do it again, because we’re a good team."