Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wants two things to be clear.
He wants to keep playing in the NHL and he wants to do so with the team he’s captained for the last 14 seasons.
“Well, I’m committed to the Boston Bruins. I’m’ committed to Boston fans and the city of Boston. I think I’ve expressed that a number of times,” the 43-year-old and future hall of famer said in a Zoom call with the media on Thursday morning. “I’m excited about the future of this team and we’re going to do whatever we can to win another Stanley Cup.”
Following the Bruins’ 3-2 double-overtime loss Monday night and five-game series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, NBC hall of fame play-by-play man ‘Doc’ Emrick gave what sounded like a eulogy for Chara’s career in Boston and potentially in the NHL. When apprised of Emrick’s comments by the media even Zdeno Chara appeared to be uncertain about his future.
“I haven’t made that decision,” Chara said Monday night. “I obviously just finished the game. I’ll be open-minded.”
On Thursday he clarified his post-game comments and respectfully dismissed Emrick’s comments and the speculation it created.
“Yeah I mean I wouldn’t say I’m undecided. I was saying my mind was open,” Chara explained. “Obviously to be asked just a few minutes about my future after the double-overtime loss, and the way we battled and how well we played in that game, I was still so sad about the outcome.
I can’t really reflect on some of the rumors. I have not heard any of these rumors directly and I dismiss any kind of conversations and comments on these matters because it might just cause unnecessary distractions to my teammates and the organization.”
Chara told reporters Thursday that he has given the green light to his agent Matt Keator to begin contract talks in earnest with Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney.
“I expressed to my agent that I would like him to meet with the management and I make that my priority — the sooner the better — and see what the future holds,” Chara added.
Chara was asked directly what would happen if those talks don’t go well and if he’d consider playing for another NHL team?
“Well again, if it comes down to that, then again that’s something that we can talk about later,” Chara said. “But I love Boston. I love the city. I think we have the best fans in the world. I have no plans to move or kind of go anywhere else. So we will see what the future holds.”
Zdeno Chara just finished a one-year contract extension he signed late in the 2019-20 regular season that saw him earn a $2 million base salary and included a potential $1.75 million in incentives. This is the first time he has entered an offseason without a contract since he signed a five-year contract worth $37.5 million ($7.5 million cap hit) with the Bruins on July 2, 2006.