By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
LAS VEGAS Its only appropriate that in the season when Zdeno Chara made his quantum leap as a leader that he was awarded the NHLs highest honor for leadership.
Chara finished third in the Norris Trophy voting for best defenseman behind winner Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber, but the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award after leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.
The award is bestowed in recognition of commitment and services to the charities in the community as well as to the player who leads by positive example with his on-ice performance, motivation of team members and dedication to community activities.
The rough-and-tumble Chara has always been a lead-by-example player on the ice and a charitable sort since arriving in Boston, and those qualities have only been enhanced by what he's done off the ice.
Messier solicited opinions from league officials and team executives as well as NHL fans in picking Chara, Phoenixs Shane Doan and Detroits Lidstrom as the finalists for this years award. The former Oilers and Rangers great eventually chose the 18th captain of the Bruins due to the great strides hes taken in becoming only the second European-born Captain to lead a team to the Cup. Charas extensive work with Right to Play, the Bruins PJ Drive and Cuts for a Cause charities in the city of Boston also helped his cause.
To be selected by somebody like Mark is an honor, said Chara. You have to be a true leader and it doesn't happen overnight. Coming to Boston was great. I'm lucky to be surrounded by other players. I learned from veterans from previous years and early in my career too . . . but it just takes time.
I'm at the point where I'm really myself and I know that to be a leader you need to have followers. That's what I had in Boston. I'm thankful to my teammates, obviously the coaching staff and the organization. They all believed in me. They know that we as a group can get a job done. It's a privilege. I take it to heart to do a good job on and off the ice -- and be fair and a hard worker.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.
*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.
*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?
*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.
*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.
*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.
*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.
*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team.
So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.
It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.
“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old.
“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.
“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”
The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball.