Zdeno Chara develops into the leader the Bruins hoped he could be

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One would imagine that it is easy to lead others when you stand 6-foot-9. Yet it’s just not that easy to be the captain of an NHL team, especially in a demanding market such as Boston. Much like he fought through other difficulties in his career, Zdeno Chara is rounding into the kind of leader the Boston Bruins organization has been hoping for, according to Joe Haggerty.

Perhaps the growth first became clearer in the Bruins’ first round series against the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins found themselves down 2-0 in the series while Chara fought off dehydration and the anger Montreal fans displayed regarding the hit on Max Pacioretty to help Boston win the series in seven. Chara and the Bruins then shook off another demon when they swept their 2010 tormentors the Philadelphia Flyers from this year’s playoffs.

Maybe the best example of his growing leadership savvy came after he helped the team shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, though. Instead of making the Prince of Wales Trophy ceremony about whether or not Chara would touch it (he didn’t), he instead gathered his teammates to take credit for the achievement.

Haggerty writes that such a moment indicates that Chara is embracing the emotional side of the captaincy role.

There was an emotional component to the job that Chara always seemed to be searching for, and it was clearly a process. It would seem that in his most challenging NHL season the B’s defenseman finally broke down those walls, and everyone within the organization has taken notice of his evolution as he’s battled true adversity all along the way.

“We’ve been together for both our tenures here. We went to one conference final with Ottawa and lost, so that was a bit of painful memory. We just kind of connected briefly after [Game 7] and I could see a little bit of a twinkle in his eye,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “It was kind of a special moment for me to share with him. I can’t say enough about him as a player and his defensive impact on the game.

“I think [in the Tampa] series you saw him try and do a little more offensively on his own and at clutch times. That was — for me — him stepping up. His leadership abilities have grown exponentially. I can’t say enough about Zee and the impact that he has in the locker room — and on the ice.”

Chara and the Bruins faced some tough challenges in this playoff run and their last other two postseasons, but the Vancouver Canucks (and all the pressure that comes with playing in the Stanley Cup finals) present their toughest obstacle yet. Chara must help his teammates roll with the punches on the game’s largest scale because this Canucks team could create some serious headaches for any defense.

If his resilient playoff run is any indication, he might just stand head and shoulders above his peers once again.

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.

Mitchell signed PTO with Blue Jackets — shortly after getting cut by Blackhawks

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When the Chicago Blackhawks announced their roster moves yesterday, John Mitchell was among the cuts.

His professional tryout with the Blackhawks had come to an end, as it did for veterans Mark Stuart and Drew Miller.

It can be an uphill battle to make an NHL roster for veterans on professional tryouts. But for Mitchell, he quickly received another opportunity to attend a camp and try to land a spot, signing a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mitchell, 32, has appeared in 548 NHL regular season games with 70 goals and 177 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are still without forward and restricted free agent Josh Anderson, as the two sides are stuck in a contract impasse right now. It was reported on Thursday that his representatives have been in contact with Hockey Canada about the 2018 Olympics.

Calgary mayor: ‘Errors of omission’ in Flames arena proposal

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On Thursday, the Calgary Flames released a report claiming they were prepared to contribute $275 million for a new arena, with additional funding — in the ball park of $225 million — from a Community Revitalization Levy.

On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded to the proposal and the events of yesterday.

“I wouldn’t say dishonesty. I would, however, say that there are perhaps some errors of omission,” Nenshi told reporters, according to Global Calgary, when asked if there had been a level of dishonesty from the Flames with their proposal.

The Flames not only released a report with financial details to their website, but they also took out ads in local newspapers. Nenshi took issue with the details the Flames released yesterday.

“What was in that ad was not actually what the last deal on the table with the city was,” he said.

“For example, yesterday you saw that the Flames’ owners are claiming that they’re putting $275 million up front. Makes it sound like a (check) is being put on the table. Certainly that has not been discussed. That would’ve really changed things had that been the discussion.

“The discussion, the last I saw, was the Flames were putting $100 million in and the rest would be a ticket tax, which they wanted the city to take out, to get for and to front. I’m not quite sure how that equals the Flames putting in money up front.”

Yesterday, the Flames added in their report that, after two years of discussions with the city about a new arena, they will no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary.

The Flames currently play at the Saddledome, which is now 34 years old.