OTTAWA Zdeno Chara wanted to do something special in the city of Ottawa where he played for four NHL seasons and first became the elite defenseman thats truly blossomed since leaving the Senators for Boston.
So Chara did something that no NHL player has ever done before. The Bs defenseman rocked a puck 108.8-mph in the Hardest Shot Competition to win his fifth straight title and shatter his own personal record of 105.9-mph set last season. Chara actually broke his own record twice with shots that topped 106-mph before reaching all the way back for the seemingly superhuman 108.8-mph.
Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber also topped 106-mph during his trip to the hardest shot finals against Chara, but he was no match for the 6-foot-9 shooting monster once again this season.
Sometimes you dont look at the exact numbers and you just want to win. I was very fortunate that besides winning I could push the record really high up, said Chara, who was greeted with wild cheers as a returning hero at Scotiabank Place. It was great. The standing ovation is always very much appreciated. I was glad I could break the record here in Ottawa where I played and spent some great years.
Its all part of Charas personal plan to continue improving himself season after season, and hes certainly followed through with his blistering feats of slap shot strength the event the NHL chooses to run last in the series of six skill competitions on All-Star weekend.
Does Chara think he can hit 110-mph one of these years?
Well seethats my motto. Every season when I step on the ice Im trying to do better and improve, said Chara. It was a great feeling. I didnt see the number until I peeked over the guys because the radar was late picking up numbers. When I saw 108.8 I was surprised, but also very happy.
Tim Thomas stood in amazement watching his longtime teammate once again snap his own record, and said Charas sizzling shot has made him a better goaltender over the years.
Ive got the pleasure of seeing history up close in each of these last few All-Star games with Zee upping the ante, said Thomas. I dont know. Every year he sets a new record youre like okay hes reached the limit and then he goes out and sets new limits.
I get to face that every day in practice for years and its part of whats made me a better goalie, said Thomas. Hopefully were playing for a lot longer, but its been a real honor playing with him. Hes turning into one of the best defenseman to every play the game.
One of the most interesting parts of Charas new record: he was utilizing a new Warrior stick in the competition. Its fairly obvious that should be the Bs defensemans twig of choice for the foreseeable future after tonights heavy shot-filled events.