Chara just 'waiting for a decision' on NHL lockout

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Chara just 'waiting for a decision' on NHL lockout

Much like every other NHL player, Zdeno Chara thought the NHL lockout would be over by now.

The Bruins Captain has spent the bulk of the hockey season in Prague skating for HC Lev Prague of the KHL while the NHL cancels games due to a labor disagreement, and Chara has done well enough. Hes playing for a mediocre sub-.500 KHL club, but Chara has put up nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 20 games along with a plus-3. At one point the Prague club had lost eight games in a row and Chara was a minus player while skating in a quicker, less physical league.

The plan is to stay in shape, experience a new league and just kind of roll with things until we see an end to the lockout here, said Chara.

Chara said he chose Prague mainly because he enjoyed the city and because that franchise showed the most interest in him. The 6-foot-9 defenseman also cited that it was close to his hometown of Trencin, but Chara admitted hes only made it home once in the last three months while playing in Europe.

Its a really long, four hour drive and its difficult to do when you literally practice every day over there, said Chara.

The Bs defenseman talked a little bit about his KHL experience while practicing this week in Boston during a 10-day holiday break in the European season. He caught up with teammates like Shawn Thornton and Tuukka Rask, and now Chara will head back to the Czech Republic and continue playing in Europe while waiting for an end in CBA negotiations.

For sure its different. Everything is different, said Chara. The way they play. The way they have systems. The way they travel. The way they practice. You have to get used to it, but once you get used to it you get in the same routine and you get going.

I dont know if the league is faster. There are games that are played at a pretty good pace. For sure its a less physical league, but you do have some games where youll see a few big hits and battles. But I do think the game over here is faster because its on a smaller ice surface.

Chara certainly factors into some of those big hits in the KHL this season, as anybody thats watched him nail Slovakian buddy Miroslav Satan twice in the same game would attest.

But the Bs defenseman has made the adjustment and continues to stay sharp waiting for the NHL lockout to end. Yes, Chara is hopeful that there will be a 2013 NHL hockey season despite the lockout clearing 90 days of existence this weekend. But hes also incredibly wary that he could lose two full seasons of a potential Hall of Fame career because the NHL and NHLPA couldnt hammer out a deal.

Its at a point where Im not getting frustrated or excited anymore. Im just waiting for a final decision, said a matter of fact Chara. Every time I got excited, the next day I got frustrated when talks were moved back. The same thing the other way when you got different news. You stay positive and you get some good news. Thenboomtwo days later youd get bad news.

Its a roller coaster of emotions where you have ups and downs. I find myself in a position where I want to stay neutral and see whether its going to get done or not.

Is it hard to fathom that the NHL could cancel another season during his playing career?

It would be a shame. Yeah, said Chara. You want to play. You want to do your job as a professional athlete. Its your job to perform and be an entertainer.

But at the same time you have to know you can only play under certain conditions. If those arent met then that job would be put in risk and it would be hard to perform. You would still do your best, but for the next generation of players it would be even harder and harder.

There are many approaching things just like Chara. Theyre now numb to the rhetoric and the negotiating tactics, and they simply want to know whether or not there will be an NHL season. For now Chara will head back to the KHL and will only return to Boston if the news end up being good for the NHL and its players.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.