WILMINGTON – The Bruins were having some fun after Friday’s practice while imagining what their 6-foot-9 captain will look like trying to cram himself into the twin beds set aside for the Olympic athletes in Sochi.
Zdeno Chara is already in Russia after taking part in the opening ceremonies on Friday as the flag-bearer for Slovakia, and pictures have surfaced on the Internet of the makeshift solution for the Bruins defenseman’s height predicament. An ottoman was slapped onto the end of the twin bed for the extra leg room needed for Chara as he stays in Sochi, and were a cause for chuckles at Ristuccia Arena given the five star luxury hotel treatment NHL players are accustomed to.
“I did see that…that’s pretty crazy,” said Torey Krug. “I don’t know what else to say about it. Good luck to Zee. I hope he can get some pretty good rest.”
“I saw some of those pictures and I was hoping they weren’t real,” said Matt Bartkowski. “I was hoping they were photo-shopped. It certainly doesn’t look great for a tall guy like Big Zee.”
Some players were more matter of fact about it than others, as the 6-foot-2 Tuukka Rask will have his own challenges getting a good night’s rest in a standard twin bed set up in the Olympic village.
“I heard they just put a futon at the end of the bed, and that’s just it,” said Tuukka Rask. “You’re that tall. What can you do? You just have to deal with it.”
While tall players like Rask and Chara will gladly be “dealing with it” for the Sochi Winter Olympics, each picture and woeful story of the chaos in the Russian resort town provides further evidence this winter might be the last time NHL players stop their season to participate in the games. The safety concerns, the strain on the players in the middle of an already challenging 82-game regular season and the travel issues when the games aren’t in North America make it increasingly difficult for 30 NHL owners to justify going along with suspending their regular season for two weeks.
The twin bed treatment for Chara may just be the piece de resistance when the NHLPA and NHL get together in the future to decide whether the league will provide their greatest product for the games in South Korea four years from now.