Zdeno Chara is a tall man. At 6-foot-9, he's the tallest player to ever play in the National Hockey League.
Such measurements require certain accommodations for the Boston Bruins' captain. Bigger sticks. Modified equipment. Hotel beds with extensions.
The latter is the most recent accommodation for Chara, who arrived in Sochi in time to carry Slovakia's flag during the Opening Ceremony on Friday. His room in the athletes' village isn't like the others, as it features a mattress with an extension to fit his long frame.
Slovakia's hockey team pre-ordered a special bed months in advance and this is what the Russians gave them.
Said Chara to WEEI.com earlier this week:
“I’ve been in Russia many times, and yeah, there are many different levels of hotels from one-star, two-star to really luxury ones,” Chara said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be a five-star accommodation, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything bad. Really, as an athlete, we’re more looking for getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep and obviously good food. That’s all you should really care about — not what kind of pillows.”
Perhaps it's a little gamesmanship? Russia and Slovakia open their Olympic tournaments against one another on Feb. 13 will meet on Feb. 16. If you see Chara looking like he just spent a night in a cheap motel, you'll know why.
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