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Chara wants to play beyond this season with Bruins: report

40-year-old defenseman could become unrestricted free agent after 2017-18 @NHLdotcom

Defenseman Zdeno Chara wants to extend his NHL career with the Boston Bruins beyond this season.

Chara, 40, is in the final season of a seven-year contract he signed with the Bruins on Oct. 9, 2010, and could become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I definitely want to play beyond this season," Chara told on Tuesday. "It's really hard to put a number on it. Some people do and some people don't. I just obviously want to keep playing [in the NHL] beyond this season. I love this game too much. I have made no secrets about it. I want to stay here [with the Bruins] and continue to play."

Chara had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) and a plus-18 rating in 75 games last season, and led the Bruins in average ice time per game (23:19). He averaged a Bruins-high 28:45 per game during their six-game loss to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference First Round, when defensemen Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were out because of injury.

"I love the game," Chara said. "I love everything about it. I love the sacrifice and I love the training. There are so many things that are so positive [about playing in the NHL]. At my age, I look at what I can still do and just really enjoy it. I just want to keep improving and play for as long as I can.

"I always felt I can play for a long time if I'm in good shape and if I can be healthy. So that's what I wish for, that I can be healthy and play a long time while still being really effective and consistent."

Tweet from @HackswithHaggs: Chara: "I've made no secrets about it. I want to stay here [in Boston] & I want to continue to play [after this yr]"

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