Zdeno Chara has remained around Boston longer than some of his Bruins teammates that have already fled North America, but it appears the Slovakian defenseman is headed back to Europe soon.
With the NHL lockout in his midst, Charas agent, Matt Keator, told CSNNE.com that the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain will be making a decision on playing overseas within the week. The big defenseman has several playing options on the table, and a return to play in his native Slovakia would be the most logical choice for the proud countryman.
There are almost 100 NHL players that have already signed with European teams the past month with the NHL locking out its players and no sign of a deal in sight.
Its expected the NHL is going to start cancelling regular season games this week, and that could speed up the decision-making process for many players mulling a move to a European League.
Chara had been skating in the Boston area with some of his teammates the past month while leading Captains practice, and hadnt been in a hurry to leave with his daughter, who is enrolled in a local school in Boston. Chara could clearly gain some interest in the KHL if he wanted to play in Russia, but the most persistent whispers have the defenseman linked with the Bratislava hockey club in his native Slovakia.
A stint with Bratislava would reunite Chara with his former Bruins teammate and good friend Miroslav Satan. Chara last played for Team Slovakia in April during the World Championships after the Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs by the Washington Capitals. Chara had four points in 10 tournament games.
Interestingly, Chara skated for Farjestads BK Karlstad of the Swedish Elite League during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, and told reporters he had a positive experience there when asked about it last month.