Zdeno Chara Reflects on His Toughest Opponent: "A Player Who Embodied the Game's True Spirit"

Austin Sabourin
June 6, 2023  (5:04)

Zdeno Chara initially faced disappointment when he was passed over in the 1995 NHL Draft. However, his perseverance paid off as he was selected by the New York Islanders as the 56th overall pick in the following year's draft. Chara made his NHL debut in 1997, paving the way for a remarkable career.

Standing at an imposing 6 feet 9 inches, Chara faced skepticism from fans and analysts who questioned whether his towering presence would translate into success in the NHL. Undeterred by the doubts, Chara silenced his critics by proving his worth over an astonishing 26-year career. He recently retired in 2022, playing his final game on April 29, 2022, and serving as the captain of the Boston Bruins for all of his fourteen seasons with the team.
Throughout his 23 seasons in the league, Chara amassed an impressive record, tallying 680 points in 1,680 games while donning the jerseys of the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals. Over the course of his career, Chara had the privilege of competing against some of the greatest players in hockey history. Notably, he was on the ice when Wayne Gretzky scored his final NHL goal on March 29, 1999.
When asked about the most memorable player he had to defend, Chara, in an interview with The Athletic in 2020, singled out the exceptional Pavel Datsyuk. Chara spoke highly of the former Red Wings star, stating,
"Pavel was just a player that played the game the right way."

Chara fondly recalled the intense battles he had with Datsyuk, acknowledging that the skilled forward often got the better of him. One particular highlight took place on October 14, 2013 when Datsyuk skillfully maneuvered past Chara, culminating in a beautiful pass to former Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.

Zdeno Chara couldn't praise Datsyuk enough for his style of play, admiring his work ethic and versatility. Chara emphasized Datsyuk's ability to excel in all facets of the game, from his strength to his finesse. According to Chara, Datsyuk possessed an arsenal of skills that surpassed the vast majority of players in the league.
Despite the size disparity between the two players, Datsyuk always exhibited a fearless approach when facing Chara, never shying away from physical battles.
6 JUIN   |   37 ANSWERS
Zdeno Chara Reflects on His Toughest Opponent: "A Player Who Embodied the Game's True Spirit"

Was Chara the best captain for the Bruins all time?

Yes1540.5 %
No2259.5 %
Latest 10 stories