BostonBruins.com – Tyler Seguin got to see the work ethic of Zdeno Chara firsthand at training camp during his rookie season.
“I remember my first training camp my first year a couple years ago,” Seguin recalled. “When I walked in at probably a buck-80 [180 pounds], I could do pull-ups like nothing because I was so light, probably 25 [of them]. I thought I was the best on the team.
“Then Zee [Zdeno Chara] came up and, who knows how much he weighs – two-something. He went up and beat me by five or 10. I was blown away. It just really shows the strength of him and the work ethic he has.”
That commitment, power, and leadership is what has made Chara into one of, if not the best defenseman in the NHL. It is also why not many expect a repeat performance of Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final.
Chara was on the ice for five of the Blackhawks’ six goals in the Bruins 6-5 overtime loss that tied the series, 2-2. As a result, Chara was a minus-3, tying his lowest plus/minus rating of the entire season (he was also minus-3 in a 7-4 loss to Buffalo on January 31).
“Probably, I’d say so,” said one of Chara’s fellow defenseman Johnny Boychuk, when asked if Chara will be a bit more motivated tonight in Game Five.
‘It’s going to be a tough battle against him. He’s a fierce competitor. He’s our captain and we’ll probably feed off of him.”
“I don’t think it really bothers him too much,” added Seguin, while discussing whether or not Chara will be more angry because of all of the talk surrounding his Game Four performance.
“Again, like I said, I don’t think there are too many guys working harder than him on and off the ice ever. I expect him to lead us off tonight with a good start, a full complete effort tonight.”
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien doesn’t believe that Chara struggled much at all in Game Four. The B’s bench boss thinks the team as a whole had problems defensively.
“People talk about five goals against, but were they all his fault? None of them were his fault, actually,” explained Julien. “[It was] just one of those situations where we feel he's one of our best players on our team. He's one of the best defensemen in the league, so I don't think there's too many flaws in his game.”
Chara’s leadership is most definitely not a fault.
“He’s on the ice for as least 25 minutes a game,” said Boychuk. “He usually shuts down the other team’s best line. In the dressing room, he wants to get everybody prepared. He’s a great leader on and off the ice.”
“All the right reasons,” added Julien, about what makes Chara a good leader. “From the people that watch him play, I think that's self-explanatory. I think he's one of the best D-men in the league, shut-down D's, and still able to contribute point-wise. And at the same time he's a great example off the ice.
“His conditioning, his training, his example of how to conduct yourself as a pro. I don't think there's anything that's negative about Zdeno. Obviously when you've got a guy that's so imposing, what better to use him as a great captain and a great example for your team.”