Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Seven

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.

Teuvo time: Teravainen to open with Toews, Hossa

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.

Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.

Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.

The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.

It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.

Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.

That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.

“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”

‘Great story’ Janmark surprises, makes Dallas roster

Brian Elliott, Mattias Janmark-Nylen
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Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.

“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.

“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”

Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.

As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.

He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.

His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.

Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.