Battle of the NHL old-timers as Bruins' Zdeno Chara faces Sharks' Joe Thornton

NBC Sports Boston Staff

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara may be the oldest player in the NHL at 42, but San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton and teammate Patrick Marleau also are breaking an age barrier.

The three are set to share the same ice Tuesday night when the B's and Sharks meet at TD Garden. Chara, Thornton and Marleau are the only active NHL players who skated in a league game in the 1990s.

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Chara made his debut with the New York Islanders in the 1997-98 season, the same season Thornton, now 40, debuted for the Bruins. Marleau, also 40, made his debut with the Sharks in '97-98 as well. Chara has spent 14 seasons as Boston's captain, skating in 1,496 total NHL games while Thornton has skated in 1,578 and Marleau in 1,665. 

All three have had monumental careers, unlimited by age and setting records as their tenures continue. As Chara, Thornton and Marleau take the Garden ice Tuesday night, it'll serve as a reminder that older athletes can not only compete, but match and, at times surpass, the standards set by aging players years ago. 

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Battle of the NHL old-timers as Bruins' Zdeno Chara faces Sharks' Joe Thornton originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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