Zdeno Chara wanted so much more for his 23rd season in the National Hockey League. But it was taken away by his former team, the Boston Bruins, who eliminated the Washington Capitals from the postseason on Monday.
We therefore saw the veteran defenseman shake hands with all of his former teammates down the line after Sunday night’s Game 5 and congratulate them as they advanced to the next round while his season ended.
And now comes the big question. What is next for the 43-year-old player?
Chara’s NHL future is uncertain, as he’ll hit free agency again after signing a one-year, $795,000 contract with the Capitals. He admitted to choosing Washington because of the important role they still allowed him to have on the roster. In Boston, things would have been different with a young pack pushing their way up on th blue line. However, things were hard on Chara, seeing that his family remained in Boston for the season.
On Tuesday, Chara made a first official statement on what comes next for his hockey career, and it starts with a few days to talk things over with his wife and kids before deciding whether to return for a 24th season.
“Obviously, I think that it’s not always decision that I can make myself,” Chara said Tuesday per NHL.com. “Sometimes there are things in life that you have to realize, and I have to, obviously, have those conversations with my wife and my children and see where we’re going to be in the next few day or weeks. After those conversations, I’m going to probably let those emotions settle in and see where I’m at.”
Chara showed he still has some gas left in the tank. He scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and averaged 18:19 in ice time in 55 regular-season games and scored no points and averaged 16:16 in ice time in five games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
“Obviously, the season didn’t end the way we wanted, but that’s life,” Chara said. “We have to move on.”
We wonder if this means another season for Big Z or if it means retirement…