ST. PAUL, MN Zdeno Chara hasnt had too many stretches like current one with the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins Captain and star defenseman was building up an impressive Norris Trophy resume rolling into NHL All-Star weekend. He served as an honorary captain and potted the game-winning goal in the mid-winter classic at Scotiabank Place. But that seems like a long time ago now with Chara struggling right along with the rest of his Bruins teammates.
He put up another minus-1 in their 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center Sunday afternoon.
Chara was encouraged by the teams first period, but they just couldn't follow through on it.
We came out and had a pretty good effort in the first period, but we werent able to follow it up with another good one in the second, said Chara. I think our play right now is a reflection of the five guys working being on the ice and working together as a unit. If we are not working as a unit then mistakes will happen.
The numbers dont lie, and Chara is a minus-7 over his last four games while showing signs of fatigue. There isnt a soul that thinks its desire or effort thats at the heart of Charas difficulties, and his coach thinks its merely the 6-foot-9 defenseman trying to do too much with so many of his teammates struggling around him.
You talk about mistakes, but those are made when youre not on top of your game, said Claude Julien. When you play with energy and you play with smarts you make good line changes. That energy level stays where it should be and your work ethic stays where it should be.
But youve got only some guys producing for the team, and there are not enough of them. So they try to do a little more and produce a little more, and it hurts them more than it helps him. It just snowballs from there. Weve got to rely on everybody to do their jobs and do them well.
In Sundays loss it was a little bit of both as nobody in a Bruins uniform did much to slow down Chad Rau or Dany Heatley when the two players zoomed into the Bs zone with unimpeded speed. Chara backed way off Rau while wary of Heatley trailing the play as the second attacker, and both the Bs defenseman and Tim Thomas were burned when Rau scored to the short side.
Chara has just three assists and a minus-7 rating in games during the month of February. He knows he can be better, as can the rest of the B's.
We win as a team and we lose as a team. We could all be betterthats for sure, said Chara. I dont think theres any one thing that we can say that were doing well. We need to improve every aspect of our game. When we play our game its fun to play and when we dont its just working hard. Weve got to be on top of the things that work for us.