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.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still digesting all of the awesome trailers and tidbits released at Comic Con in San Diego.
*The NHL says there is no alternative regular season schedule for next season, and that any hope of participating in the Olympics is dead.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Predators just one Ryan Johansen deal away from a piece of salary cap artwork, and being able to keep everything together.
*Clark Booth is either upset or mystified that the Bruins haven’t done anything this offseason. My good man Clark, they need to re-sign David Pastrnak and let some of their young prospects continue to grow and develop. Better that than sign another premium-priced contract to a player like David Backes or Matt Beleskey. They don’t need that at this point. And they shouldn’t panic and trade one of their good, young players either.
*Former UMass-Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has agreed to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets.
*It’s a wonderful time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh as the Penguins have been dominant, and it looks like the Steelers are in position to finish in second place behind the New England Patriots in the AFC. Well, that’s something to write home about.
*Minnesota native Kyle Okposo opens up for the first time about a scary season-ender with the Buffalo Sabres where Illness forced him to the hospital.
*Larry Brooks explains why the New York Rangers have short-changed Mika Zibanejad in their salary arbitration exercise.
*For something completely different: Are you kidding me with this Stranger Things 2 trailer to Michael Jackson’s Thriller? This looks awesome.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.
*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.
*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.
*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.
*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.
*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.
*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.