Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara should’ve been at the All-Star Weekend

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 28: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins and Team Chara in actions against Team Alfredsson during the Blackberry NHL Hardest Shot part of the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Scotiabank Place on January 28, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 28: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins and Team Chara in actions against Team Alfredsson during the Blackberry NHL Hardest Shot part of the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Scotiabank Place on January 28, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The NHL missed a trick by not inviting Boston Bruins’ captain, Zdeno Chara to the All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Given this could well be the last go around the league for the Boston Bruins defenseman and given his Hardest Shot record has yet to be broken in the NHL, Zdeno Chara would’ve been a fun person to have at the game.

Obviously, we don’t know that retirement will be on the cards for him this summer; at this point I think the Boston Bruins are happy to continue the one-year contract extensions until Zdeno Chara decides he’s had enough.

The St. Louis event saw former Blues defenseman, Al MacInnis partake in a guest role, taking a shot and still managing to get it going above 100 miles per hour. To have the record holder in the event there could have been for show or he could’ve been allowed to partake in the actual event.

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When you look at the fact it was Shea Weber walking away with the Hardest Shot crown this year and that he’s the only player ever to get close (108.5mph in 2015) to Zdeno Chara’s 2012 marker of 108.8mph, bar maybe Al Iafrate‘s 1993 105.2mph effort; it’s a real missed oppurtunity.

Now of course, the Boston Bruins wouldn’t have wanted to risk Zdeno Chara attending the event, playing in the All-Star Game 3-on-3’s and getting injured, but surely taking part in just this element of the Skills Competition would’ve been okay.

In fact, I think it being in St. Louis and the Boston Bruins having lost to them in the Stanley Cup Final last season might even have made it more of a story. You have to imagine that St. Louis fans are smart enough to give kudos to the guy that suited up against them with a broken jaw last year!

To conclude, it’s little marketing tricks and ploys like this that the NHL so often seem to miss the mark on. Yes, it’s all well and good to invite Brett Hull, Keith Tkachuk and Wayne Gretzky down as Blues alumnus, and of course inviting Brady Tkachuk when Auston Matthews pulled out, despite Brad Marchand being a more qualified choice as his replacement.

However, the skills contest often feels so flat and dull since they did away with the entertaining Breakaway Challenge; to invite some of the all-time record holders to compete in measurable challenges like Hardest Shot seems like an easy win for everyone!

Should we be upset about Zdeno Chara not getting invited? Not really. Should it be pointed out though that the NHL missed a trick here? Absolutely.

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Between that and the single player from the Boston Bruins in attendance, despite being first in the Atlantic – the All-Star Weekend stood out for exactly what it is at this point; a bit of a joke.