– Bruins forward Tyler Seguin
has put together a rather impressive sophomore campaign – his 26 goals lead the team, and his 34 assists give him a team-high 60 points.
But on some days, the young Bruins star has a tough game, or an off night where he doesn’t even know exactly what’s wrong with his game.
|Chara and Lucic catch up during practice |
However, there’s someone who can always help, and that’s his captain Zdeno Chara
, who’s playing his 1,000th NHL game
tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
“He’s helped me a lot, just little things,” Seguin said. “I don’t know how he’s noticed some times, but if I’ve had a couple of off games, maybe some thing’s wrong away from the rink he’s just the guy to lean on your shoulder and say, ‘Hey what’s up, what’s going on? How’s your family? Can I say hi to your mom and your sisters after the game tonight?’
“Just little things like that make him a good guy, a true leader.”
Standing at 6-foot-9, 255-pounds, Chara – known to his teammates as “Zee” – is in remarkable shape in his 14th year in the NHL.
His off-ice conditioning is a true testament to the hard work and dedication Chara puts towards honing his craft – something Seguin admires.
“For him, he plays a lot so he’s always hardening his body and it’s kind of weird how he can go and work out like crazy and keep himself in shape,” Seguin said with a smile.
Much like Seguin, Bruins forward Chris Kelly
remembers times when Chara has lent a helping hand.
Kelly had the luxury of playing with Chara not just on the Bruins, but also on the Ottawa Senators during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons. After playing just four games in 03-04, Kelly played 82 games after the lockout, spending a great deal of time alongside the man that would become one of NHL’s finest defensemen.
“I think it’s a true privilege if you ask anyone that’s played with him, that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind,” Kelly said. “He’s a true professional in every sense of the word, on the ice and off the ice. He goes out of his way for younger players to help them, [and] for older guys. He’s just one of those guys that plays hard, competes every night and shows up to play.”
To point to a specific moment, Kelly, who was 25-years-old at the time and in his second professional season, remembers when Chara took him and the rest of the young Senators players under his wing.
“[There were] seven, maybe eight first-year players after the lockout, and I know [Chara] roomed with Brian McGrattan his first year in the league and I think he did a lot for Brian, getting used to being a pro in the NHL and helped him out that way,” Kelly said.
“I got to know him pretty well rooming with Vaclav Varada – we went to dinner quite a bit with Zee. He’s just a good guy to be around, at the rink, away from the rink. Like I said, just a pleasure.”
Chara’s off-ice leadership skills are what define him as such a great captain, but he has the ability to make his teammates better on the ice, too.
“I enjoy playing him in practice,” Seguin said. “Usually, we’re the first two on drills and [I’m] matched up against him. I feel like if you can hold off Chara in practice, you can hold off most D in this league.”