Chara tones down his offseason training slightly

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Chara tones down his offseason training slightly

LAS VEGAS, NV Zdeno Chara is still going strong at 35 years old, and will serve as a Norris Trophy Finalist for the fifth time in his career as evidence of his continued dominance for the Bruins.

But even the biggest, the baddest and the best get slow downat some point, and that process is beginning for the 6-foot-9 defenseman as he heads into the long back nine of his NHL career. Chara led all defensemen with a plus-33 and led the Bruins to their third Northeast Division title in four years, and posted a career-high 52 points while averaging 25 minutes of ice time per night.

Chara is up against two defensemen still basking in youthful prime with Nashvilles Shea Weber and Ottawas Erik Karlsson, and the Bs defenseman said it could come down to a simple matter of taste among the voters.

Its not stressful. I was nervous the first time I was nominated, Chara said. You get a little bit nervous when it comes down to your category. That never gets old. Hopefully you get the votes and this is the year. No matter how you look at it, its very close.

For a number of writers and for people that are eligible to vote everybody likes something different. You have three cars in front of you: you have the BMW, you have the Mercedes and you have the Porsche. A hundred people are going to like the Mercedes, a hundred people are going to like the BMW and the rest are going to like the Porsche. Every guy is a winner maybe in the different worlds of each different group of writers. It just comes down to the total scores of votes. Of course you want to win. Its a huge honor.

So which car is Chara?

He wouldnt answer the question, but he probably is best described as a Slovakian tank or a Mack Truck with a hemmie.

Karlsson is clearly going to get a large number of votes after putting up 78 points this season, and finishing with nearly 30 more points than anybody else in the defensemen category. But the Sens D-man also was fifth on his own team in ice time on the penalty kill and didnt face the toughest offensive competition while trying to live up to his positional name.

One interesting footnote to Charas training: the 35-year-old fitness freak admits that hes scaled down his once maniacal training regimen. The long, punishing bike rides through the hills and mountains have been toned down slightly, and Chara has found the recharge button that hockey players need during the summer.

Its a great question. Every time after the season I sit back and make a little change to my preparation for the next season. I get older, but I also get wiser about the way that I train, said Chara. You do more in some things and less in others. You pay more attention.

In some ways I do less biking than I did before, and I do other stuff instead. When you look at it now I was biking maybe six or seven hours each day, and maybe that was a little too much. Now I try to train hard, but not in the volume of those hours as before. Then youre not gaining anything.

An older, stronger, wiser Chara must be a scary thought for opponents, regardless of whether or not he takes his second career Norris Trophy.

Matt Beleskey out six weeks with a right knee injury

Matt Beleskey out six weeks with a right knee injury

BOSTON – Some key Bruins players have missed a handful of games here or there already this season, but only this week did they suffer one of their first major injuries to a key player that will knock him out for nearly two months. 

Matt Beleskey will miss roughly six weeks with an injury to his right knee after the feisty forward was caught with a hip check by Tyler Fedun near center ice in Buffalo over the weekend.  Beleskey tried to instinctively sidestep the oncoming attack, but instead his lower half caught the brunt of the big collision with a young Sabres attacker. 

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Instead Fedun caught Beleskey’s right leg with his hip check, and the gritty Bruins winger was knocked out in the first period of last weekend’s win over the Sabres. 

Beleskey was spotted walking with a bit of a limp during and after Boston’s 4-3 OT win against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, and armed with what looked to be a giant brace or cast on his right leg. It’s clearly a bummer for Beleskey that he’ll now miss a large chunk of time due to a freak injury, and the Bruins have to be disappointed at the timing of it all given how well Beleskey has been playing lately. 

The injury certainly opens up the third line left wing spot for a player like Ryan Spooner, who has struggled to find his right place in the NHL, or a player like Frankie Vatrano as he gets over the hump in his recovery from foot surgery.

Beleskey has skated in plenty of games with Boston in 2016-17, producing two goals and three assists for five points with 23 penalty minutes in what’s been better described as “bedlam”  after a slow start to the regular season.