Feb 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference (21) during the first period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Zdeno Chara takes fellow Slovakian under his wing in Sochi.

Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara has had a long career in the NHL. While he’s made a home in Boston, he’s played in several other organizations in the NHL. He earned his start playing for the New York Islanders where he first encountered Dallas Eakins, now coach of the Edmonton Oilers. After the Edmonton-Boston game, coach Eakins asked for a few minutes of Zdeno Chara’s time to help him out with an Oiler, and a fellow Slovakian defenseman,  Martin Marincin. Marincin and Chara will be teammates in Sochi, Russia this month at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Marincin is a young player for the Oilers, and Eakins was hoping that Zdeno Chara’s experience would benefit Marincin. “I was calling in a favour,” said Eakins (which is posted on the Edmonton Oilers website.) “I’ve gotten to know Chara over the years. I saw him, at a very early age, with the New York Islanders. I was there at training camp the one year and I saw him starting to put in the work. He was obsessed with it. He’s turned into, for me, one of the top players in the game, a guy with extremely high character, great work ethic, extremely humble and I had talked to Marty about his Olympic experience and the importance of him asking Chara a lot of questions.

“I asked Z after the game. I said I’d like to call in a favour to help this young man; Mr. Marincin. Z was great and he said he’d spend lots of time with him. Zdeno even texted me later, after we were on the plane, just reiterating what he promised. That’s a guy for Marty that. Chara wasn’t quite as light as Marincin is now, but if Marty commits to (taking) that level of commitment that Chara has with his body, then that will speed the process in him being a very good player in this league.”

While Slovakia and Mr. Marincin will enjoy Chara’s experience, the Bruins will be missing him for two games as Chara has been tapped to serve as his country’s flag bearer. It means he’ll miss two games before the break, but not including tomorrow night’ match against the Vancouver Canucks.

 

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