Chara, offsides review, and Detroit
Here’s something I’m comfortable saying: There will never be another Zdeno Chara. Never.
I think the hockey world officially realized that in Montreal of all places.
Suiting up for his 1,500th NHL game, becoming just the sixth defender to hit that milestone in league history, on Tuesday night, Chara was welcomed to the Bell Centre with an ovation.
Now, there were some boos sprinkled in there, but it was a generally positive reaction from a crowd that hates this man with a passion. Some of these people wouldn’t even hug him for a Big Mac.
But they respected him enough to give him an ovation.
On one hand, this is Montreal. They love their Canadiens, but they also love hockey just as much. I’d like to think TD Garden would do the same for P.K. Subban if his 1,000th game landed in Boston. Or same for any Original Six city. There’s an unspoken level of respect between those franchises.
At the same time, though, I wonder if people have hit the point where they actually understand that the 6-foot-9 Chara is a talent we’re unlikely to ever see again. At 42 years old, Chara remains a premier shutdown defenseman. He doesn’t turn as quickly as he did 10 years ago, but he still logs a solid 20 minutes per night, goes against top lines, and can still make some of the league’s best disappear.
Patrice Bergeron wasted no time talking about how Chara’s skillset is unlike anything he’s seen when you consider his defensive prowess, physicality, and the booming shot.
Who else has this?
I mean, just think about the next tallest defensemen in the NHL. It goes Tyler Myers and Martin Marincin. Just try to process the talent gap from Chara to the third guy there. It’s insane.
We’ll never see another Chara.
And even Montreal knows it.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from around the league
- It’s been weird hearing reporters ask guys like Alex Ovechkin and Drew Doughty what the Maple Leafs need to do to win a Stanley Cup. Like, I get it, but it’s still weird how that’s become an actual topic. It’s been even stranger to hear these guys give real answers. Let the Leafs figure it out on their own. They pay their coach a zillion dollars to do that.
- Throw offside reviews into the ocean. It’s completely useless. My idea: Put a time limit on this stuff. You can challenge if a player was offside and a goal was scored within 10-15 seconds of the zone entry. Anything longer than that and that’s on your team for not shutting down the offensive chance. The other time limit: On the review process itself. No more five-minute reviews. You get two minutes. If you can’t find something to take the goal away within two minutes, it’s a good goal. You’re supposed to prevent egregious mistakes, not go into a NCIS investigation.
- Can the Oilers just trade Jesse Puljujarvi already? Like what are we waiting for here? You’re not going to win this trade. He may be a fourth overall pick, but he’s proven absolutely nothing at this level and he doesn’t want to be there. It’s stupid to see him in Finland right now. You dominated the Lucic-for-Neal swap, don’t get greedy. Make a trade, damnit. (I’m not a patient person.)
- Turnstile is the best band they’re not playing at arenas right now.
- Getting a look at the Detroit Red Wings tonight. Hard to imagine this team has grabbed just three of a possible 26 points over their last 13 games. When does it finally change? And is Torey Krug going to be part of that? This is something that’s been floated out there quite a bit, and it would seem to make a ton of sense should the Bruins and Krug find themselves unable to come to terms on a new long-term deal. Krug is a top-five power-play quarterback in today’s game, and his production certainly speaks to that. I wonder if the Bruins can get him locked up for under $7 million per year. As is always the case, the lower the yearly dollars, the more years you’re adding on to find a balance. Would the B’s want to risk paying a late-30s Krug almost $7 million?
Ty Anderson is a writer, columnist, and weird personality for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, where he covers all things Boston sports. He has been covering the National Hockey League for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010, and has also been part of the Boston Chapter of the PHWA since 2013. In addition to writing, Ty can occasionally be heard on the air at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and seen and/or heard on the NHL Network every now and then. He will not give you his email, so yell at him on Twitter (@_TyAnderson).