Chara realizes that his playing days are dwindling

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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.