Chara planning to stick around
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.”