Chara just 'waiting for a decision' on NHL lockout


Chara just 'waiting for a decision' on NHL lockout

Much like every other NHL player, Zdeno Chara thought the NHL lockout would be over by now.

The Bruins Captain has spent the bulk of the hockey season in Prague skating for HC Lev Prague of the KHL while the NHL cancels games due to a labor disagreement, and Chara has done well enough. Hes playing for a mediocre sub-.500 KHL club, but Chara has put up nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 20 games along with a plus-3. At one point the Prague club had lost eight games in a row and Chara was a minus player while skating in a quicker, less physical league.

The plan is to stay in shape, experience a new league and just kind of roll with things until we see an end to the lockout here, said Chara.

Chara said he chose Prague mainly because he enjoyed the city and because that franchise showed the most interest in him. The 6-foot-9 defenseman also cited that it was close to his hometown of Trencin, but Chara admitted hes only made it home once in the last three months while playing in Europe.

Its a really long, four hour drive and its difficult to do when you literally practice every day over there, said Chara.

The Bs defenseman talked a little bit about his KHL experience while practicing this week in Boston during a 10-day holiday break in the European season. He caught up with teammates like Shawn Thornton and Tuukka Rask, and now Chara will head back to the Czech Republic and continue playing in Europe while waiting for an end in CBA negotiations.

For sure its different. Everything is different, said Chara. The way they play. The way they have systems. The way they travel. The way they practice. You have to get used to it, but once you get used to it you get in the same routine and you get going.

I dont know if the league is faster. There are games that are played at a pretty good pace. For sure its a less physical league, but you do have some games where youll see a few big hits and battles. But I do think the game over here is faster because its on a smaller ice surface.

Chara certainly factors into some of those big hits in the KHL this season, as anybody thats watched him nail Slovakian buddy Miroslav Satan twice in the same game would attest.

But the Bs defenseman has made the adjustment and continues to stay sharp waiting for the NHL lockout to end. Yes, Chara is hopeful that there will be a 2013 NHL hockey season despite the lockout clearing 90 days of existence this weekend. But hes also incredibly wary that he could lose two full seasons of a potential Hall of Fame career because the NHL and NHLPA couldnt hammer out a deal.

Its at a point where Im not getting frustrated or excited anymore. Im just waiting for a final decision, said a matter of fact Chara. Every time I got excited, the next day I got frustrated when talks were moved back. The same thing the other way when you got different news. You stay positive and you get some good news. Thenboomtwo days later youd get bad news.

Its a roller coaster of emotions where you have ups and downs. I find myself in a position where I want to stay neutral and see whether its going to get done or not.

Is it hard to fathom that the NHL could cancel another season during his playing career?

It would be a shame. Yeah, said Chara. You want to play. You want to do your job as a professional athlete. Its your job to perform and be an entertainer.

But at the same time you have to know you can only play under certain conditions. If those arent met then that job would be put in risk and it would be hard to perform. You would still do your best, but for the next generation of players it would be even harder and harder.

There are many approaching things just like Chara. Theyre now numb to the rhetoric and the negotiating tactics, and they simply want to know whether or not there will be an NHL season. For now Chara will head back to the KHL and will only return to Boston if the news end up being good for the NHL and its players.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.