While Boston sports fans have been spoiled by a wave of championships across several leagues, you could make a similar argument for Boston Bruins fans when it comes to watching great defensemen.
Most obviously, they had Bobby Orr in all of his statue-worthy glory. People who were lucky enough to be alive to see his too-brief prime still often rank him as the greatest player – not just defenseman – to ever lace up the skates, and it’s not outrageous to have that debate.
Plenty of other names come to mind, with Ray Bourque enjoying a transcendent, high-scoring career in his own right.
It’s time to place Zdeno Chara‘s name in that select group.
For such a tall player, it makes sense to consider the highest heights of his career, of which there have been many:
Chara has served as captain of the Bruins since 2006-07, becoming one of just three European-born captains to win a Stanley Cup when Boston won it all in 2010-11.
This marks the Bruins’ third trip to a Stanley Cup Final during Chara’s time, as they also came within two wins (and suffered through 17 wild seconds) of another championship when they fell to Chicago in 2012-13.
Chara won the 2008-09 Norris Trophy, and was a finalist on five other occasions. Personally, I believe that Chara should have won at least one other Norris during his splendid career.
Overall, Chara’s played in 1,485 regular season games, and an impressive 175 playoff contests.
While Chara probably would’ve won another Norris or two if he was a more prolific scorer, he’s a guy who’s been able to contribute offensively, too, collecting 10 seasons of 10+ goals, including 19 in 2008-09.
The numbers can get pretty mind-boggling with Chara, yet the story becomes even bigger (almost larger than life?) when you zoom out.