Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara
has a knack for being named captain. The B's blue-liner, who's been wearing the "C" since his arrival in 2006, also captained the Slovakia national team in the 2010 Olympics.
|Chara at the hardest shot competition. |
The NHL and the Players Association announced today that Chara, who is just the third Slovakian-born captain in NHL history, will serve as a captain for the 2012 All-Star Weekend in Ottawa Jan. 26-29.
"It's going to be interesting," Chara said. "Again, it's another honor on top of being selected into the All-Star game and hopefully it's going to be a great thing. I found out this morning, so I'm kind of a little bit surprised but at the same time it's flattering."
Chara will be joined at the game by Bruins forward Tyler Seguin
and goaltender Tim Thomas
, while Head Coach Claude Julien and his assistants will coach a team by virtue of winning the Stanley Cup. On the other hand, Ranger's coach John Tortarella and San Jose's Todd McLellan will coach the other team.
The captains were selected by the All-Stars and Chara, along with Ottawa forward Daniel Alfredsson, will select players from the pool to play for their respective teams. The two will also set their lineups for the 2012 Molson Canadians NHL All-Star's Skill Competition Saturday, Jan. 28.
"I'm going to try to be in a position some GMs are, or people who are making those selections at the draft," he said. "It's going to be fun, but in the group of players that are selected I don't think you can make the wrong choice. I'm going to do my best to pick the best possible team I can."
"Team Chara" will wear the dark blue jerseys, while "Team Alfredsson" will wear the white.
The B's defenseman, who played with Alfredsson for five seasons before joining the Bruins, is excited to return to Scotiabank Place, the home of the Senators.
"I'm sure it's going to be fun – hopefully it's going to be a great All-Star [weekend]," Chara said. "We're going to have fun and we'll see. I'm still having great memories from back in those days and many friends so I'm excited.
"I haven't talked [to any Ottawa players] yet, but it will nice to be playing against old friends."
The All-Star game is Chara's sixth appearance, and he has scored two goals and three assists in his past appearances.
But Chara's true vocation is the "hardest shot competition." The six-foot-nine-inch defenseman has won the last four competitions and broke Al Iafrate's 16-year record with a 105.4 mph slapshot in 2009.
Last year, before recording two assists in the game, he broke his own record when he torched the net at 105.9 mph.
"Yeah it's a very exciting event overall, and hopefully I can defend my title," Chara said. "I think it's very competitive – it's for fans and it's fun, but you want to put up a good show and have a good performance."
But before Chara can defend his title, he'll have to pick his team Thursday, Jan. 26 and he plans on sparing ex-teammate Phil Kessel as the last pick of the draft this year.
"I don't know, we'll see how it goes," Chara joked. "Somebody is going to be last. I don't know what they have for [the player this year], maybe another car or something, but well see."
--- Anthony Gulizia
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