On Wednesday, Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin's leaping bro-mance topped hockey hugs, leading me to express some jealousy at Seguin's good fortune. Frankly, leaping into the arms of the Boston Bruins' giant captain -- hockey's equivalent of being scooped up by the Iron Giant -- just looks like a good time.
But I'll tell you what doesn't look like a good time: the reverse scenario. As much glee as one might be able to derive from throwing oneself into Zdeno Chara like the walls of a Slovakian bouncy castle, having Zdeno Chara throw himself into you seems much less enjoyable. This is a lesson Washington Capitals' forward Marcus Johansson, as well as the shattered glass behind him, learned firsthand Saturday.
Seriously, Johansson is lucky that was the glass and not his bones.
The hit came just under 10 minutes into the first period of a game the Capitals were leading 2-0. They would go on to win the game 4-3.
While Chara's property destruction in this hit may not be quite as stark as in the check Bruins' teammate Milan Lucic delivered on Mike Van Ryn of the Toronto Maple Leafs' in 2008-09, it's still pretty sweet. Speaking of which, here's the Lucic hit again:
Hockey's changed in the three years since the Lucic hit (for instance, glorious as it was, he does jump into it somewhat -- nowadays someone would have objected to it). But, for all the scrutiny that surrounds big checks these days, Chara's stands as evidence that you can still put a guy through the glass within the adjusted rules.
While I would imagine this is exactly the sort of hit the TD Garden operations staff would like to see removed from the game, I can't imagine anyone else having any objection to it (save perhaps Johansson and those kids in the front row who got the debris shower, although that strip of partition is a sweet souvenir). It warms my heart to know there will always be a place in the NHL for shoulder-to-shoulder checks so hard they wreck up the place.