All-Star captaincy selection a big honor for Chara
NEWARK, N.J. -- Unlike his counterpart and former teammate Daniel Alfredsson, Zdeno Chara will not reveal who he will take or wants to take with his first selection in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft one week from Thursday.
"Nope," Chara said without hesitation Thursday morning. "We'll see how it goes and what the picks are going to be like."
The Bruins' Chara and Ottawa's Alfredsson were both selected as captains for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. Alfredsson has already said he'd pick Senators' teammate Erik Karlsson at the first opportunity. That means Chara will have the chance to select either Bruins goalie Tim Thomas or right wing Tyler Seguin with his first pick.
Then again, his coach, Claude Julien, who by virtue of winning the Stanley Cup last season will get to coach either Team Chara or Team Alfredsson, has his own idea for who Chara should select.
"I told him if he wanted to remain captain in Boston he had to make his coach his first pick," Julien said, joking. "I thought that was one of the criteria, so we'll see how he handles that."
Kidding aside, Chara is genuinely honored to be named a captain for the All-Star Game mainly because the choice comes directly from his fellow All-Star players.
"To be a captain on your team and then you get selected to the All-Star Game, and then the players vote you as captain of the All-Star team, it's another honor on top of that," said Chara, who will be making his sixth All-Star Game appearance. "I really appreciate that and it's a privilege. I take it to my soul and I really appreciate that. You're among the top players in the League, and when you're selected as a captain, it's an honor."
Chara said the recognition to be named captain by his peers, even for an exhibition game, is one of the top honors a player can get.
"To be a captain on your team and then you get selected to the All-Star Game, and then the players vote you as captain of the All-Star team, it's another honor on top of that." --Zdeno Chara
"To have that respect, it's a privilege," he said. "Not too many players can experience that so I'm very happy about that. As a person, as a dad, a hockey player, I always try to do my best and really serve the purpose of my duties. That's all I can do, just try to do my best and whatever I do."
Julien, though, wonders if Chara will feel the same way after next Thursday's All-Star Player Draft.
"It's a fun thing, there's no doubt, but people that think they don't have pressure are kidding themselves," Julien said. "Every little move is going to be critiqued. If he doesn't pick a teammate or a certain guy, is it because there is a rivalry, so on and so forth. It's an honor, but maybe not something every player envies."
Chara is nonetheless ready to have some fun with it, all the while staying in character.
"I'm sure we're all going to have a little fun with it, but I'm not going to be trying to be extremely funny or stuff like that," he said. "It's not my personality. I'll be normal, as I am, and we'll see how it goes."