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Bruins by the Numbers: 33

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- It was nice to hear the always intense Zdeno Chara sound a little less intense when he spoke via phone last week.

"Everything’s fine," said Chara when asked about his summertime R&R.

"Right after the season I went down south to Florida," said the B's captain. "I spent four weeks there. I took some time off, not very long, but took some time off to regroup after a long season.

"Obviously it was a very hard, difficult season with the Olympics. Then I started to train...right away.

"Now I'm just enjoying the summer. The workouts I'm getting are really, really good."

Chara admitted that it wasn't easy to relax after the B's exit from the playoffs, but that the abrupt ending to last season would provide plenty of motivation for the Black & Gold throughout the summer and into the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

"You know, every year I look back on...the recent season and try to figure out kind of think of about what was good, what was kind of not so good and what needs to be improved," said Chara.

"So yeah, I'm really, really motivated for next season.

"I think that we are making some changes. We are getting better and that’s a very positive sign."

Chara spoke about the beginning of the 2009-10 campaign and pointed to the slow start as a reason for the Bruins letdown after the 2008-09 Eastern Conference regular season crown.

"We just didn’t have a really good start of the season," said Chara. "That’s where it all started and I think that’s one thing that we have to correct this upcoming season to make sure we have a good start.

"We'll do the things we need to do for the team -- as far as bonding and stuff like that -- I'm sure everybody will be on board."

Everyone will have to be on board as Bear Force One departs for Belfast at the end of September.

6'9" height
7 Languages: English, Slovak, Czech, German, Swedish, Russian and Polish
12 NHL seasons
56th Overall pick in the '96 draft by the NY Islanders
111 career goals
252 career assists
255 lbs.
363 career points
847 career games played
1297 career PIM"
Chara by the Numbers
"Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it," said Chara. "It’s going to be -- maybe not as much for me -- a change, but I'm sure for some guys it’s going to be a change for sure,

"Not many guys have been in places like this and when you're talking about opening seasons in different environments, and obviously overseas, it’s going to be exciting, but a little different."

In the meantime, Chara said he is working out and preparing for the coming campaign at 100-percent.

The hand injury that the plagued the NHL's tallest player throughout much of the past season is no longer a factor for Chara.

"Well we had a few meetings with the doctor," said Chara. "He basically recommended not doing any surgery on it for one important reason.

"He said he could make the finger straight, but there's a risk I could lose the grip, which I didn’t want to lose, especially on my bottom hand," continued Chara.

"You need that finger, so I decided with the doctor to not proceed with any surgery...[and] it’s doing good. It didn’t bother me and I just have to get used to it but the finger is a little crooked."

But beyond being healthy, the new-look Boston lineup has Chara very eager to start the new season.

"I think, just like every team, we try to improve the team ad make the team better," said Chara. "Obviously, you are sad to see other guys go, but it’s a business and that’s the nature of it.

"But on the other side you're very excited to have new people and new players coming into the team.

"Obviously they’re great players and they can bring a lot of [skill] to our game and to our team and obviously it’s a really, really positive thing."

Chara talked about keeping defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and adding another former Florida Panther in Nathan Horton.

"Well I think that we all know that Nathan is a great player," said Chara. "Obviously, he’s a power forward. He’s got a great shot, he can score goals, so I'm sure that’s what we’re going to be expecting from him.

"Dennis Seidenberg is a guy who loves to work out he loves to bring up the energy on the ice and play with a lot of grit. He’s a great guy to have in the locker room and on the ice. I think it’s two really good quality players that we added to our team."

And, of course, there is Tyler Seguin.

"Obviously, it’s nice to have a very, very great player and talented player," said Chara of the B's top draft pick.

Asked what advice he would give the would-be superstar, Chara thought for a moment and said, "He’s obviously, probably, a future star in this league but he has to realize it’s just the beginning for him and it’s obviously the best league in the world.

"He’s going to have to work extremely hard to feed from those expectations. He doesn’t have to do it all in the first year, but obviously if he’s going to be working hard and really be committed to the team thing, he’s going to be all right because obviously he’s really talented.

"I'm really excited to meet him and play with him and get to know him," added Chara. "But I think that we all have to do our share of work and do our best for the team."

Chara talked about wanting to play well for the fans in his adopted home town as well.

"I'm very, very happy with the improvement," said Chara of the team's reversal of fortunes since he joined the club in 2006. "That was obviously my goal coming into Boston...[and] I think we are all going for the same thing.

"We try to make the hockey better and bring the history [back] where, somehow, it was lost in previous years, to bring it back to the city and obviously the fans.

"The fans are coming back; they’re very supportive and very passionate. It’s great. I love to play for Boston. It’s a great city, a great town and the fans are awesome."
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