Among Offensive Success, Chara Anchors Young Defense
With the regular season finally coming to a close for the Boston Bruins, the next task for the B’s remains the playoffs. The Bruins have showed persistence and skill in the past six months, earning the Presidents Trophy. The award is likely the highest honor bestowed onto a team immediately after the 82-game season.
On one hand, the Bruins have one of the most potent offenses in the league, trailing only the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks in the overall goals scored. Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla, tied for first on the squad in goals (30), have spearheaded the offense. Excellent showings of depth from the Bruins’ third line also solidified Boston’s attack into consistency.
However, the performance of the Bruins’ defense is even more admirable. The B’s didn’t just survive the year with young, inexperienced D-men–Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton. They ended up enjoying arguably the finest defense in the league, right next to the Los Angeles Kings.
A big influence on these fresh-faced skaters has been veteran defender and captain Zdeno Chara.
“(With) a compressed schedule coming off of the Olympics, he’s a smart player who has a terrific defensive impact,” said Peter Chiarelli of Chara. “He’s able to make the younger defense accountable, and at the same time make them feel wanted.”
Chara, totaling 17 goals in 77 games, leads the Bruins’ defensemen in goals. Along with Krug, the massive Slovakian tops the B’s blueliners in points, tallying 40 on the season.
“He’s had a terrific year,” Chiarelli said. “His play, in the context of the young defense, should put the spotlight on him a little bit more.”
Every year, Chara bolsters the Bruins’ Stanley Cup chances. Despite having a few notable hiccups in recent contests, he is such an ideal talent–light-sticked, composed and physical when guarding netminder Tuukka Rask. The Bruins GM believes that Chara will be a strong candidate for the league-best D-man.
“He should be in consideration for the Norris Trophy, no question.”