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.
BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.
The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.
The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.
“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”
McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”
That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.