During the 2013 Stanley Cup Final series, Jonathan Toews made waves when he discussed why the Chicago Blackhawks “shouldn’t be scared of” Zdeno Chara. It seems like the Boston Bruins behemoth is being badgered again, as Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais told NHL.com that the big blueliner grew tired in Game 5 (which Boston won).
“He’s an excellent defenseman; it’s definitely not easy to play against him,” Desharnais said. “I think [Saturday] we found a way to get him tired a bit more and to pressure him.
“When you do that, he’s just another defenseman.”
Desharnais was playing it pretty safe right there, but if you’re Bruins head coach Claude Julien, you probably want to triple the font on the phrase “he’s just another defenseman.”
Julien would probably provide the same response on this subject that he did back in last year’s playoffs:
“I mean, they’re allowed their comments. If that’s what they think, then they should try it again,” Julien said. “A lot of people have tried to figure out Zdeno, and he’s the type of player he is …”
If nothing else, the 37-year-old defenseman should be fresher than previous postseason runs. He averaged a playoff career-high 29:32 minutes per night in Boston’s run to the championship round last year, but he’s being used more conservatively so far in this postseason. He’s logging just under 26 minutes per night (25:53), well below his career 26:57 average in the playoffs.
Then again, maybe that means that Boston is a little concerned about the “Big Z’s” fatigue levels. (Of course, it could also have a lot to do with the emergence of young defensemen such as Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton.)
Either way, the Bruins probably aren’t sweating it and might even get a little bulletin board material out of the deal.