Chara nets 500th career point milestone

Chara nets 500th career point milestone
January 28, 2014, 1:30 am

(USA Today Sports Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – For a player that is known much more for intimidating, stifling defense than he is for his offense, it’s quite an accomplishment for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara to reach 500 career points in the NHL.

The 36-year-old reached the 500 point plateau in the third period of Monday’s 6-3 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum when his third period point shot befuddled Kevin Poulin on its way to the back of the net. It was Chara’s 12th goal of the season, and gave him the personal highlight against the Islanders team that drafted him way back in the third round of the 1996 NHL Draft.

Chara’s teammates secured the puck for their captain, and he was in a reflective mood about the accomplishment after the victory.

“First of all, I’m very fortunate to play in this league. I have been saying so for so many years,” said Chara. “I’m very fortunate to have played for this long. It’s something that I never really looked at that I would be able to accomplish. I’m honestly just trying to play my game: a strong game defensively, and helping my team win.

“I do my job against top lines, and points have always been secondary in my view. If I can contribute offensively it’s a big plus, and it’s obviously nice to reach that milestone. I am going to continue to play this way, and nothing is ever going to change that.”

Just as important as the offensive milestone for the fearsome defenseman, though, was his mission to shutdown John Tavares in this final game of the season series against the Islanders. Tavares had hit the B’s for three goals and five points in the previous two games, but this time Chara held him two a pair of shots on goal and a minus-2 in a quiet night for the Isles superstar.

It’s all of the above that makes him valuable enough to coach Claude Julien that he said he “wouldn’t trade [Chara] for any other defenseman in the league.”

“He’s such a valuable asset: size, strength and defensively he’ll shut down any offensive player in the league,” said Julien. “He does a good job at. But at the same time, because he doesn’t rush the puck up the ice Bobby Orr-style we tend to forget that he brings some pretty good offense.

“You’ve seen him on the power play, and you’ve seen him with the shots from the point. He’s a pretty good all-around player, and I’m really happy for him that he accomplished that.”

It’s fitting Chara gets some credit where it’s due these days as the 6-foot-9 franchise defenseman has truly stepped up his game over the last month since Dennis Seidenberg went down with the knee injury. He’ll leave with a good feeling in the next week or so when Chara heads to Russia for his duties carrying the Slovakian flag in the Sochi opening ceremonies.