Zdeno Chara isnt heading to his home country, but hell be close enough. The 6-foot-9 defenseman and the most important player on the Bruins roster has signed a deal with HC Lev Prague of the KHL, and will be in the Czech Republic to begin playing games by this weekend.
The deal was confirmed to CSNNE.com by Charas agent, Matt Keator.
Chara's move ends a quick flurry of decision-making in light of the fact that it appears the NHL wont be ending their lockout anytime soon. In fact, the word that Chara is headed to the Czech Republic can only be seen as a sign that the NHL players feel this current work stoppage will be long-term, not short-term.
Keator originally said that the Bs captain and former Norris Trophy winner was mulling several different options, and it was widely speculated Chara might end up skating with Bratislava in his home country. That choice would have given him a chance to reunite with former Bruins teammate Miroslav Satan in his homeland, but instead Chara selected a different option. Chara went with a league in the KHL that has a vested interest in challenging the NHL for hockey supremacy a league that will now have televised games on ESPN3 and is also paying players up to 65 percent of the salaries guaranteed to them in the NHL.
Chara will be playing with fellow NHL players Jiri Hudler and Jakub Voracek on the Prague Lions team, and will also join countrymen and good friend Marcel Hossa on the Lions. 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. Like all other Bruins players, Chara will have an out clause that will allow him to return to Boston once the NHL lockout has ended.