Chara plan­ning to stick around

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - — Michael Traikos

Zdeno Chara is in the fi­nal year of his con­tract. But if Maple Leafs head coach Mike Bab­cock wants a signed stick from the 41-year-old de­fence­man’s fi­nal sea­son in the NHL, he might have to wait an­other year.

“My fo­cus is ob­vi­ously to keep play­ing and keep do­ing my job,” Chara said on Satur­day. “Like I’ve said many times, I re­ally en­joy this game and have a lot of re­spect for it and pas­sion.

“I love com­pet­ing and play­ing.”

On Satur­day, Bab­cock com­pared Chara to sev­en­time Nor­ris Tro­phy win­ner Nick­las Lid­strom, say­ing that both were at the top of their game even to­wards the end of their ca­reers.

“He knows where to stand,” Bab­cock said of Chara, “and how to keep it out of the net. He knows where to stand on the penalty kill, he knows how to cross-check, he knows where to put the stick in the right spot. He’s an ul­tra-fit guy, great per­son, ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive, leads by ex­am­ple.”

“Well, I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate his com­ments,” said Chara. “It’s mu­tual re­spect. I think Mike has done a lot of great things in his ca­reer in De­troit with his coach­ing. You see right now he’s do­ing an in­cred­i­ble job with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“If he wants a stick au­to­graphed, I’ll be more than happy to pro­vide it for him.”

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