Zdeno Chara has fought 19 times since the lockout. Over a seven-year-period, that may seem somewhat infrequent for such a capable fighter, but there's a very good reason he doesn't have to drop the gloves all that often: no one wants to fight him.
If you ask me, Chara is the NHL's ultimate deterrent. Unlike many enforcers, he's on the ice for half the freaking game. If you decide to take liberties with a member of the Boston Bruins, there's a pretty good chance that he's only a stride or two away. Furthermore, he doesn't lose fights: examine Chara's fight card at HockeyFights.com -- you won't find a single decision that goes against him. Until now, perhaps:
Okay, so it's not exactly Beowulf slaying Grendel, but I'd say the decision goes to Neil.
Mighty impressive for the Ottawa Senators' pugilist, who can now boast being undefeated through two fights with Chara. The former teammates also fought in November of 2010, although the tilt was short. Chara tripped over a stick soon after the gloves came off, and Neil once again finished standing over him.
It was a legendary third period for Neil, who also felled Johnny Boychuk, albeit not in a fight, but with a devastating, clean hit during play:
This man is the antidote to the Boston Bruins. I do believe his value just skyrocketed.
Put me in the camp that doesn't believe fights sway momentum, but it's hard to argue with the immediate results of Neil's third period physicality. The Senators had 15 shots in the final frame, and within five minutes of Neil taking the decision over Chara, they scored twice to trim the Bruins' lead to one. Granted, defeating Zdeno Chara is more than just winning a fight. It's a little like dropping a house on the Wicked Witch of the East: a reign of terror has ended. It's impossible not to be energized.
Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough, as the Bruins won the game 5-3.
- Zdeno Chara
- Boston Bruins