Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara warms up before Game 1 of a first-round NHL playoff hockey series against the Detroit Red Wings in Boston on Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Chara realizes that his playing days are dwindling


Time is no longer Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s friend when it comes to his playing career. Every day he fights it and thanks to his strong work ethic, he succeeds better than most, but the 37-year-old isn’t kidding himself.

“As you get older and you’ve been in the league for a while, you don’t realize how much you’re going to maybe miss that part of the game once you’re gone,” Chara said, per the Metro West Daily News. “So I’m not saying that I’m thinking about being gone or retiring, but I’m kind of realizing that the time is not going to be always there.

“I enjoy really coming to the rink every day. I enjoy competing in practices against guys and always in the games.

“I love the game.”

And he’s about as good at it as he’s ever been. He earned his sixth Norris Trophy nomination on Monday after recording 40 points, a plus-25 rating, and averaging 24:39 minutes per contest.

He also remains the cornerstone of the Bruins’ defense and arguably the man they will be relying most on during their second round series against the Montreal Canadiens. The series is another opportunity to prove answer persistent critics, who question whether or not the Bruins can keep up with the Canadiens’ speed and look to the 6-foot-9 defenseman in particular when arguing that Boston is comparatively slow.

“We can’t really control what’s being said about us, or maybe other teams,” Chara told CSN New England. “It’s more how we’re going to play, and how we do things on the ice. I don’t think we’re a slow team. …

“I think we’re able to skate and make transitions as well as any other team. I’m not tired of it. I know we can do it, and I believe that we can play with anybody.”

More importantly, it’s a chance to put him one step closer to a second Stanley Cup championship. Because as good as he still is, he’s running out of chances to lift the Cup. He doesn’t want to squander them.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.