The case for Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara to be in the Hall of Fame

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: Zdeno Chara
OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: Zdeno Chara /

For the past decade, the Boston Bruins roster has featured one of the most unique specimens in all of hockey.  Here’s a look as to why he should be a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame.

One of the most dominant defenseman of the 21st century, current Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara deserves a place among hockey history’s elite. Standing at 6 foot 9, the tallest in NHL history, Chara has been shutting down the game’s most notorious goal scorers for over 19 seasons.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 16: Zdeno Chara
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 16: Zdeno Chara /

‘Big Z’, as he is affectionately known as, has been tasked with logging big minutes against other team’s top lines, and has been incredibly successful in that role. Chara has lost a step in the past few years but that shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

The 40 year old should be remembered for the same skill level that landed him the 2009 Norris Trophy for being the league’s best denfensman. Chara struck fear into the hearts of opponents with his incredibly physical play, unbelievably powerful slapshot (the fastest in NHL history), and a will to win that is immeasurable.

All of these allowed Chara to be a key contributor in the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup in 2011. This gave Chara the honor of becoming the first Slovak to captain a team to Lord Stanley’s Cup. Those opposed to Chara’s induction into the Hall will often cite the lack of statistical impressiveness that his contemporaries, like Rob Blake or Nick Lidstrom possessed.

However, it should be noted that it was not Chara’s offensive expertise that allowed him to become one of the NHL’s premier defenseman. It was the astonishing combination of his leadership (taking home the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2011), ability to shutdown the league’s greats, and his drive for the longevity. This package has made him an effective defenseman well after many of his peers have retired.

International Success

If his NHL success isn’t enough, his international hockey prowess puts his resume over the top. He was often playing on an under talented Slovakian roster, not laced with NHL stardom up and down the lineup.

Chara was still able to lead the team to prosperity in international competition. ‘Big Z’ has two IIHF World Championship silver medals to his name, along with a World Cup of Hockey silver medal as a part of Team Europe.

His best Olympics was undoubtedly in 2010, in Vancouver. Where Chara, Pavol Demitra and the rest of the long shot Slovaks came incredibly close to a semi-final upset against Team Canada. However despite that nail biting loss, Chara and the Slovaks lost the bronze medal game, again in a close fashion, to the Finns. This forced the Slovaks into the most terrible position in the Olympics, fourth place.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON – OCTOBER 6: The Bruins Zdeno Chara hoist the Stanley Cup as teammates applaud. The Boston Bruins opened up the 2011-12 NHL regular season at the TD Garden vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. Before the game, they raised the championship banner in recognition of their Stanley Cup Championship season of 2010-11. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

The Verdict

His recognitions are endless, being named to the NHL’s first all star team three times, and it’s second all star team four times. Despite only one victory, Chara was also a six time Norris Trophy finalist. It should be noted that only two people in NHL history have won the Norris trophy and not been inducted into the Hall of Fame, Doug Wilson and Randy Carlyle.

Next: Boston Bruins and NHL predictions

It is for all of these reasons, and more, that Zdeno Chara should become the second Slovak in history, after Peter Stastny, to be given the accolade of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.