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Cara changed Bruins culture – Boston Herald

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Defenseman Zdeno Chara had to sum up his professional hockey career on Tuesday.


he didn’t understand it.

Just as he’s been ferocious inside the arena over the past quarter century of the NHL, so gracefully on the makeshift podium at TD Gardens, Chara has celebrated his professional success and his family’s efforts to further it. provided sufficient language to express gratitude for the sacrifices made by

Cara played 14 of 24 seasons with the Bruins. He knew well before Tuesday that he would end his career in Boston.

But if you’ve heard this before, please stop.

The 40-year-old future Hall of Fame athlete, who has played most of his career in New England, is retiring because he wants to spend more time with his fiancé and children.

This time, I think it will stick.

“I’m not completely away from the game, but I’m walking with my family. My family and I are proud to call Boston home. It’s something we have in mind.” It’s the team and the city,” Cara said.

As a reminder, Chara’s “new” Bruins contract says he must work to remain “always in good shape and fit after retirement.”

As if to prove something, Chara claims that her body is intact. It’s his internal clock that’s broken. The weight of missing his birthday crushed his desire to continue playing. Now 45, Chara is just transitioning from one part of the game to another. Neither he nor we know how or when it will happen.

“I am happy with my decision,” said Chara. It’s time to go home to.”

Don Sweeney, Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs join Chara on the podium. Cara captained the Bruins for 14 seasons and dominated the position for 20 years, but there just isn’t enough tank left to clean up the mess left by Moe, Larry and Curley this offseason.

Neely called the decision to retire Cara’s number 33 across from Larry Bird “very easy”.

Neely would know. Rituals are simply a matter of time and timing. Our vote is to honor Cara before the Bruins Penguins Winter Classic game at Fenway Park on January 2nd.

What better way to remind John W. Henry that he bought the wrong hockey team?

Do you want “surreal”? Cara was born in a country that no longer exists (Czechoslovakia). His NHL journey began on November 19, 1997. At the time, Tom Brady sat buried in the depth charts at the University of Michigan as his sophomore in redshirts. Ray Burke and Sweeney played for the Bruins. The 21-year-old Tiger Woods was defending his champion at the Masters. Charlie McAvoy is not born for 32 days.

Cara started his career with the New York Islanders. His stopover in Nassau County spanned a serve in Boston from 2006 until Game 7 of his Cup Finals with Stanley in 2019. He also played for Ottawa and Washington. He sits right behind David Ortiz as the greatest free agent signing in Boston history.

At 6’9″, he was initially overshadowed by the feats of Paul Pierce, Ortiz and of course Brady.

That was until he and the Bruins ended a 39-year cup drought. did.

After recalling the “unwavering bond” he and his Stanley Cup champion teammates now share, Chara rattled off their names as if he were reciting a pledge class at Delta House.

“Berger, March, Krech, Rex, Seg, Luch, Horty, Kells, Ryde, Pebbs. Halfway between Thorty, Paillie and Soupy. D: Johnny, Pheles, Sayes, Quader, Cave, Nites and of course Timmy and Chukes.

(Apologies if any of these names are lost in translation from locker room jargon to English.)

It is doubtful that Cara got a bigger round of applause than what was thrown at him before Game 5 of the 2019 Finals. did. Remember that next Red Sox someone will be placed in IL due to muscle strain.

Chara “seeded” the Bruins culture by hosting the championship parade in 2011 and competing in the 2013 and 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. Two of his links to his Chara glory days in Boston – Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron – were present on Tuesday.

Marchand learned a lot from Big Guy.

“As a captain, as a leader, what he wanted to build and express every day. His work ethic, his attention to detail, on and off the ice. “He took a real estate course while he was out for a month with an injury. He learned how to speak multiple languages ​​on the plane. He’s an incredible human being,” Marchand said. Told.

Bergeron called Chara “a force to be reckoned with”.

Chara’s superlative list is taller than him.

No one ever lifted the Stanley Cup high off the ice.

Chara won the 2008-09 Norris Trophy, led the Bruins to the playoffs in 11 of 14 seasons as team captain, and played in more games (1,680) than any other defenseman, the most ever. Played in Game 7 (14) of the 2012 season, scoring a 680. He scored points, earned six All-Star selections, and as of 2012 he had the hardest shot in NHL history (108.8 mph).

Including the postseason, Chara logged 44,371 minutes of ice time. This equals his 739 hours and 31 minutes. or 30.81 days. That’s his month of non-stop his play at the highest level.


Chara has taken a leave of absence.

and our gratitude.

You can contact Bill Speros (@RealOBF) at