January 18, 2011
With just under six minutes remaining in a blowout victory for the Boston Bruins on Monday afternoon, Zdeno Chara(notes) had the puck at the Carolina Hurricanes blue line. He skated in. The crowd shouted "shooooot"; Chara did, beating Justin Peters(notes) for a power-play goal and the first hat trick of his 13-year career.
The Bruins captain then skated out to center ice to celebrate with a peculiar move: Taking his hand to his helmet, pulling off an invisible hat and then pretending to throw it onto the ice.
Take a look:
It was a peculiar celebration for everyone ... save for former Washington Capitals great Peter Bondra.
Because it was his hat-trick celebration move.
"I think I did it twice," said Bondra, in a phone interview Monday night. "If 'Z' used that move, I think it's going to cost him dinner next time he comes to Washington."
Bondra was, of course, flattered by the homage.
As we were speaking with Bondra, a text message from Chara arrived: "He asked me if I saw his celebration," said Bondra, who scored 503 in 16 NHL seasons before retiring in 2007.
"He asked if I remembered my move from when he was with the Islanders."
In fact, Chara did use Bondra's move, admitting as much to WEEI after the B's 7-0 victory:
Chara celebrated the hat trick by gesturing to the crowd with his glove, waving on the fans to toss their hats. He admitted after the game that he saw Peter Bondra of the Capitals do it after notching three goals against him when we was with the New York Islanders, and that he kept the move stored in case he ever had the opportunity.
"I kind of remembered [thinking], ‘If I ever get a hat trick, I want to do the same.' I thought it was pretty cool," Chara said of seeing Bondra celebrate.
In both players' cases, the euphoria of the moment trumped any preconceived planning.
"The celebration ... you cannot practice it or anything," said Bondra. "It's a moment when the excitement of your goal make you react to the moment. Sometimes I wasn't happy with what I did. It's a moment where you're excited to show how excited you are, but there's a line and you want to respect the other team."
The two Slovaks are long-time friends, and Bondra said they chat on a semi-regular basis. He was surprised that it took Chara 892 games to tally his first career hat trick - and was pleased the drought was over.
"I'm happy for him," said Bondra. "He also only had to play 20 minutes, which is good."