BOSTON — Before he was the biggest of the big, bad Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara was just big. He was more of a curiosity, a 19-year-old kid from Slovakia, a third-round pick of the New York Islanders. He was trying to adjust and develop half-a-world from home in Prince George, a tough lumber town in the forests of British Columbia.
His junior team printed life-sized posters of him with measurements on the side, so regular folks could compare themselves to the giant and his 6-foot-9 height. Fans would hold them in the stands. Opponents could see them as they whirled around the rink for warm-ups. This being the Western Hockey League, the pugilists lined up to prove themselves – until Chara proved himself as a fighter. He still had to prove himself as a player.
“He wasn’t a guy that you looked at right away and said, ‘Wow, he’s going to be unbelievable in the NHL,’ ” said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, who played against Chara back then. “He was a guy that you looked at and you’re like,Read More »from Bigger and better: There's nobody in the NHL like Bruins captain Zdeno Chara