On Wednesday, the shocking news came that veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara had signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals. The 43-year-old was not ready to retire and doesn’t want to play a reserve role. That’s why he left the Boston Bruins.
In a complete article from team insider Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, Chara revealed every detail of the disagreement that led to his departure from the Bruins this past week. After 14 seasons with the Bruins, the veteran blue liner didn’t want the responsibilities expected of the deal offered by general manager Don Sweeney. Money wasn’t an issue : Chara couldn’t imagine his workload decreasing as much as the Bruins hinted at.
“I believe Don Sweeney negotiated in good faith,” Chara, while quarantining on Thursday in the Washington area, said of his former general manager. “I really appreciate the way everything was communicated to me and was very open to me. We had a number of conversations. He made it clear what conditions and what role I would be taking with the organization if I would return. I just felt that what was presented to me and what conditions were attached to it, I just felt I had more to offer. I respect their decisions and wish them the best. I just felt I could still play regularly and play the games. I have no issues of them going in a different direction. I just feel like for me, at this point in my career, it’s better if I continue to play.”
Chara was good during the 2019-20 regular season, but the Bruins fear how he would do in a 56-game, 116-day dash.
They couldn’t agree and that’s why Chara went elsewhere.
“As the conversations progressed toward the end, it was very clear to me that I would not be in the starting lineup for the season, starting some games or playing back-to-back games,” said Chara. “I would be more of a reserve type of player. I have no issue with that. A lot of credit to Don Sweeney, how he handled the situation. But for me, it would be a better fit for me if I found a better role with another team, stepped aside and let the Boston Bruins go with the direction they chose to do.”
He feels he has a great opportunity in Washington to prove his worth.
“I decided that if I start skating and start going back to training, I will be very quickly honest with myself in case there would be some case of questioning or hesitation about going on the ice and doing all these routines and training I’ve been doing before,” Chara said. “That never appeared. I still have a lot of fun when I go on the ice. I love working out. I love working hard, getting ready, getting up in the morning and doing all that routine. To me, that was an indication I still have lots of gas left. I still want to go out there and do my thing. That’s my motivation: to still prove I can play.”
It will be quite a shock to see Chara in a different uniform, especially after his 14-season span in the Black and Yellow. But we expect a lot from the giant defenseman who is seeking another Stanley Cup before hanging up the skates.