Won't lie - it was a bit of a gut punch to learn that Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals. Like another 42-year old future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady, I was convinced that Chara would end his career in Boston. But I guess that wasn't meant to be.
Unlike Brady, who wanted to move on from the New England Patriots, the decision not to resign Chara seems to have been the Boston Bruins. Chara signed with the Capitals for just $730,00 with incentives which could bring the contract up to $1.46 million. For a guy who can still be a top 4 defenseman on almost any team - that's cheap money. Capitals fans have to be ecstatic with the signing.
Even at age 43 there's nobody in the NHL who wants to fight the 6'9" Chara. He's still capable of one-punching even the toughest tough guy. But don't get me wrong - Chara was a fun guy who didn't take himself too seriously - especially when kids were involved. And the above video where Chara answered the bell in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals WITH A BROKEN JAW shows how Bruins fans felt about him.
I think the Bruins will struggle to replace Chara's toughness and presence. Some of their skill players will suffer for his absence.
Chara is not just respected in Boston and the NHL but also internationally. In the 2014 Winter Olympics he was chosen to carry the Slovakian flag at the opening ceremonies. Well deserved big honor for a big guy.
He will be missed in Boston. And the Capitals with Chara are now my second favorite team in the NHL. I'll still be rooting for Zdeno for as long as he chooses to play.