Chara never thought about staying in KHL

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Chara never thought about staying in KHL

Zdeno Chara played in the KHL for the last three months, but was never propositioned with the idea of remaining behind to play in the Russian League when the NHL lockout finally ended.

The Bruins captain finished with 25 games under his belt for HC Lev Prague, and showed up in Boston on Wednesday for a skate with his Bs teammates after flying back from Europe on Tuesday.

There was some level of intrigue whether elite Russian superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk would return from the KHL after reportedly being promised millions upon millions to remain in Mother Russia. But Ilya Kovalchuk is still in Russia while planning to play in the KHL All-Star game this week, and there is some question as to whether hell be returning to his job with the New Jersey Devils.

Even if he does return to New Jersey, it appears that participating in the KHL All-Star game will make Kovalchuk late for the start of training camp.

Chara didnt have much to say about the choices other players are making, and said its up to each individual.

Well have to wait and see. There is a lot of speculation about Russian players, said Chara. What can I say? They need to make comments for themselves.

But one thing was certain when it came to Chara and the KHL: He was headed to Boston as soon as the lockout was over. The 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman made sure there was clear language in his contract allowing him to leave for North America once the new NHL CBA was settled.

We all knew Boston is where we wanted to be and this is where we wanted to play, said Chara, speaking for all 12 Bs players skating overseas. Europe was good in the short term for a lot of us, but this is where we all wanted to be.

It was pretty clear in my contract that once the NHL begins that I was leaving. It depends on how the guys feel and what they wanted to decide to do. I cant really tell you much about it.

Chara finished with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 25 games for the Bruins and was a plus-4 after some early struggles shaking the rust off, and gave the KHL credit for its standing as one of the best hockey leagues in the world aside from the NHL.

There are some really, really skilled guys over there, said Chara. There are players that are very skilled as far as skating, handling the puck and making plays. I think its less physical, but skating-wise and skill-wise its a little bit different.

There were some very high-tempo games and some other games that was a little more laid back and defensive. There was also a lot of travel through different time zones, so all of those things can affect how you play.

The KHLs high skill level and challenging travel should have a conditioning fanatic like Chara ready to jump into NHL game action after participating in games through the early part of last weekend.

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

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Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four

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NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona.

J.P Macura led the Musketeers with 18 points.

The Musketeers brought their turn-the-page jar of ashes to the NCAA Tournament, where they burned through a string of upsets to reach their third Elite Eight and first since 2008. They beat Maryland, Florida State and took down No. 2 Arizona in the regional semifinals, setting up a matchup of small Jesuit schools seeking their first Final Four.

The Final Four was the only thing missing on Few's resume, which includes 18 straight NCAA Tournaments, eight trips to the Sweet 16 and a third Elite Eight after surviving West Virginia's constant pressure in the regional semifinals.

The Zags struggled to find an offensive rhythm against the Mountaineers - who doesn't? - but had it flowing against Xavier.

Gonzaga came into the Elite Eight hitting 29 percent of its 3-point shots after making 37 percent during the season. The Zags found the range early against Xavier, hitting 8 of 13 from the arc in the first half, mostly against the Musketeers' zone or on kick-outs from center Przemek Karnowski.

Xavier got off to a good start offensively by working the ball around, but hit a dry spell and made 1 of 5 from 3-point range as Gonzaga stretched to lead to 49-39 by halftime.

Halftime did little to slow the Zags, who pushed the lead to 59-42 on 3-pointers by Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews. Gonzaga kept the machine rolling in the second half, continuing to make shots while its defense prevented the Musketeers from making any kind of run.