Bruins’ Chara has some Kings memories among his 999 games

Zdeno Chara at Staples Center, January 2011 (photo: M. Zampelli)

Later tonight, Zdeno Chara will become the 11th player to suit up for his 1,000th NHL game while wearing a Bruins jersey. Although he was drafted by the Islanders and played 231 games with the club, followed by another 299 as a member of the Ottawa Senators, last season cemented his legacy in Boston. Images of him hoisting the Stanley Cup will forever be part of hockey history.

Game 470 with the Bruins will come against the Kings, a team he’s faced only 15 times over his long career – one that started on November 19, 1997 at Joe Louis Arena.

“That first game was a dream come true,” Chara said of facing the Red Wings that night in Detroit. “A lot of memories growing up go through your head. It’s quite a thing when 15 years later you still remember that game, almost like it was yesterday…my very first shift I remember the coach putting me on. There was a whistle and then a defensive zone faceoff on the left hand side of our net. Scott Lachance was on the left side, I was on the right. We were just skating towards the circle and talking about what we were going to do. That very first moment when I was standing at that faceoff, I was thinking ‘Here it is, this is my first moment in the NHL.’

It was more than a year later when he saw the Kings for the first time, in a game on December 17, 1998 at the Forum in Inglewood. His Islanders won 5-4 in overtime, in front of an announced crowd of 9,872. You can expect roughly double the number of fans in attendance for tonight’s game at Staples Center.

Even with that additional energy in the building and an expected playoff-like atmosphere, he’s doing his best to block out any possible distractions right now.

“I’m trying to focus on tomorrow’s game the same way as any other game,” explained Chara. “Obviously, I know it’s a milestone and an accomplishment. Yet, going all the way back to my very first NHL game, I never thought I would be able to play in the league for this long. So, I’ve been very fortunate to play with some great players and learn so much from different players and coaches. I’m very thankful for that.”

Among the many things he’s learned is that winning the Stanley Cup is great, but it puts a big bulls-eye on your back the following season.

“It’s a different walk that you’re walking after you win the Championship. It’s more challenging. Everybody’s looking at you and there are high expectations.”

Even so, Chara feels the Bruins are still poised for success. Besides strong goaltending and overall toughness, he even tried to explain the ‘it’ factor they have, something that can be hard to measure.

“First of all, we have a really tight group inside the locker room. We’re very close to each other. We try to always carry that on the ice and when we play with that intensity and that physicality, we’re capable of a high-tempo game and are hard to play against,” he said.

A later admission indicated they’re perhaps a work-in-progress though. “We’ve been kind of on and off lately. But, we’re trying to re-establish that going into the playoffs because that’s the only way we’re going to be successful.”

As for his memories against the Kings, Chara said “I always remember when Rob Blake played here with Luc (Robitaille) and obviously the teams with Ziggy (Palffy) and Stumpy (Jozef Stumpel). Those were really great teams to play against because they were star players. They did so much for hockey. Those games were always intense and fun to play.”

You want intense? The last two games between the Kings and Bruins have been shutouts (with each team winning on their home ice). The three games prior to that were all decided in a shootout. And the game before that…well, it went to overtime.

So, what about the game before that you ask?

It was pretty uneventful. The Bruins won 8-6 on October 12, 2007.  Chara had two assists and was a plus-2 that night.  The Bruins haven’t beaten the Kings in LA since.

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Comments

  1. Dilapidus says:

    “Images of him hoisting the Stanley Cup will forever be part of hockey history.”

    Yeah.. because no one else could reach it.. could have been the best game of keep away ever.

  2. Doughty99 says:

    I’ll never forget his part in that 7 v. 6 line brawl back in 2000-ish, when Adam Mair jumped off the bench (automatic 10 game suspension) to help his 5’10” teammate getting pummeled by Chara. I haven’t liked him since. He’s a bully. He’s dirty. And I hope the Kings jack Chara and the Bruins up tonight.

  3. Miguel Vaglienty says:

    My Favorite Game was tonight when the Kings beat Boston to regain first place in the Pacific Division. Woohoo!!! GO KINGS GO!!!!!

    @TH3DARKN1GHT

  4. Christian Allen says:

    My favorite memory of the Kings playing the Bruins would be the game back in 2007 where sadly the Bruins won the game 8-6, I didn’t plan to attend the game but ended up getting tickets in section 117 by the glass for the game. Saw a great scrap between Ratis Ivanans and a Bruins player who I can’t seem to remember at this moment (I’m sure it’ll come back to me later), Anze Kopitar scored in the 2nd period’s McFurry Minute which I thought was awesome since the Kings RARELY score during the McFlurry Minute.

    Even though the Kings didn’t win the game, I loved the back and fourth pace of that game in regards to goals.

  5. Jeremy McDonald says:

    Kopitar’s shootout goal on January 30th of 2010 in Boston. Beautiful one handed deke.

  6. Been a Kings fan for three years so not many memories. I like the Bruins, But, Not when we play them. Hope my memory is tomorrow and that we win with Carter scoring the first goal. Grandson played hockey for 15 yrs and now all my focus is on the Kings……GKG Chara is wild but our captain Brownie is the best.

  7. Favorite moment for me is a 2 parter: I think it was 88 or 89 but I was a few rows back of the glass (Forum) & Cam Neely & Ken Baumgartner got in a fight right in front of me.

    I met Cam in a boston bar a couple years later (I was wearing a Kings jacket btw) & talked about it with him for a few minutes. Class guy! (says he won the fight due to takedown but I remember KB getting more punches in)

  8. My favorite memory is from A couple seasons ago when the Kings won in shootouts in Boston. Handzus won it after 5 scoreless rounds of shootouts.

  9. tatum thomas says:

    1976-1977 playoff game where we forced a game 6 – underdogs baby! we battled!

  10. The December 13 game. FIrst game post Murray era is definitely a game to remember!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] We also posted an interview with Chara here this morning, talking about some memories vs. the Kings, [...]

  2. [...] Note: If you missed it earlier today, we also posted pre-game interviews with the Bruins’ Tyler Seguin (here) and captain Zdeno Chara (here). [...]

  3. [...] Prior to the game, Chara came on MayorsManor to share some memories from his first 999 games. You can catch that interview here. [...]