|Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins scores a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Garden on January 17, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Coming off a 7-0 shutout of Carolina last night in which defenseman Zdeno Chara
recorded his first hat trick in 892 career games, Coach Julien had plenty of positive things to say about his captain.
Julien was quick to point out that the 6’ 9” blueliner has contributed much more than a hat trick to this year’s season.
“The biggest thing for Zdeno is how hard he is to play against and only teams that play against him appreciate him more than maybe the people that see him everyday,” Julien said.
“He can play against the guys like Staal [Carolina Hurricane’s forward Eric Staal], Malkin [Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin] and the Ovechkin’s [Washington Capital’s forward Alex Ovechkin].”
“You know those kind of guys certainly don’t like playing against a guy like Zdeno because he’s a strong guy, he’s got a real long reach. He’s very good at poke checking the puck and if you’re going to go around him you really have to take the long way.
“And he defends so well and that’s why to me he’s one of those elite defensemen in the league.”
Although Chara is well recognized for being a defensive powerhouse -- he’ll make his fifth All-Star appearance this month and he won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, which recognizes the NHL’s top blueliner, in 08-09 -— he continues to work on his offensive game as well.
“You see him going on the ice early in practice a lot and he works on his shot,” Julien said. “I think it’s just about him feeling more comfortable.
"[Yesterday] was a low shot, but it was a real hard shot and obviously the way he shoots the puck you want your teammates feeling comfortable standing in front there as well.”---Hannah Becker