Since opening night of the 2011 season through the end of last postseason, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara skated approximately 4,013 minutes in the NHL, or roughly 67 hours.
He’s 36 years old, entering his 16th NHL season, and will once again represent Slovakia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
So, the dude has mileage. And Bruins Coach Claude Julien believes it’s time to ease off the accelerator.
According to the Boston Globe, Chara role will be “streamlined” this season:
“If he plays a little less, he’s going to give us more,” Julien said. “That’s the small adjustment. That doesn’t mean he’s going from 24 minutes to 19. There’s certainly going to be games where you’re going to see him get as much ice time. But we’re certainly going to keep an eye on that.”
This is a luxury the Bruins can obviously afford, what with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid filling out the other two pairings and young defensemen Torrey Krug and Dougie Hamilton looking for more ice time.
As for Chara, Joe Haggerty of CSNNE reports that the big guy’s ready to avenge the Bruins’ loss in the Stanley Cup Final:
“Expectations are high. Every team is going to give us their best, so we have to be ready for that. That’s only good,” said captain Zdeno Chara, who said his hip pointer issue went away pretty quickly after the playoffs ended. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You can look at that, but we did a lot of good things last year. But the most important thing is that we’re going to get up, and go for it again this year. Hopefully we can do great things again.”
Say, that’s very captainly.