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Chara to play in 1,000th game Saturday

Mar 23, 2012, 3:34 PM EDT

Zdeno Chara Getty Images

Saturday night will be a special one for Boston captain Zdeno Chara when the Bruins take on the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 35-year-old rearguard will become just the 277th player in NHL history to play 1,000 games and the 13th to accomplish the feat this season.

While Chara spent the early parts of his career with both the Islanders and Senators, he’s come into his own as a member of the Bruins. Since signing with Boston out of the lockout he’s won a Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy, Mark Messier Leadership Award, Plus-Minus Award and three All-NHL team spots.

“Obviously it’s a milestone,” Chara told the Boston Globe. “When you think about 1,000 games, you’ve got to be averaging, what, like 70-75 games for 14 or 15 years to do that, right?

“I don’t think anyone playing their first game thinks ahead to 500, 800, or 1,000 games. That’s just so far away. But when you get down to five more to go, 10 more to go, sure, you can’t help but think, it’s a lot of games, a long time.”

Given he’s only 35 and armed with a seven-year deal that runs through 2018, it’s possible Chara could enter the rarefied air of 1500 or more games played. Only 13 players in  NHL history have accomplished the feat and only four — Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Ray Bourque and Johnny Bucyk — played for the Bruins.

Chara’s got a good shot at being No. 5. He’s durable (only missed 12 games since the lockout), remarkably fit (see: 2009 ESPN Magazine Body Issue) and loves playing the game.

He also has a few tricks on how to maintain his high level of success.

“Just try to get better every year,’’ Chara said. “Never get satisfied with what you’ve done the previous season. That’s been my approach from the start, and it still is.

“Keep all my routines the same, for day of game, day after the game. I’ve followed that for 15 years, never changed. And the trick is to do that and not get tired of it.

“And you know what? I don’t. I still loving doing it, and I still love my job.’’

  1. cableguymike - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Watch out, LA Kings forwards! I hear he plans on celebrating by breaking someones neck! You’ve been warned!

    They should present him with a golden neck brace to commemorate the momentous occasion.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      Habsman? Is that you?

      • cableguymike - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        Try again. It’s not just Habs fans that think Chara is a douche.

      • danphipps01 - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:10 PM

        Idiots come in every team’s colours, it seems.

      • gallyhatch - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Translation: It’s not just Habs fans who are still whining & crying & b!tching & moaning about the Bruins having won last year.

        Nice to see you are over it.

  2. phillyphever - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Boy, I wonder how much Ottawa is kicking themselves these days for choosing Redden over Chara back in 06?

    • danphipps01 - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      Yyyyyep. One of those moves that will forever stain a GM’s career. You know, like basically every single decision Mike Milbury ever made.

  3. govtminion - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Congrats to him, one of the great players of our time. Hate all you want, but that’s an A-caliber defenseman if there ever was- and a class-act off the ice.

    Just… Z, please don’t dress up for Halloween anymore. OK? Like, ever. That was creepy.

  4. arbruins - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I am sure Collie rigged this somehow and everyone else in the league knows it…

  5. bcjim - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    I hope the big dufus trips over his overiszed feet and ends his career at 1000 games. Nice even number.

    • bcjim - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Im kidding. Mostly.

      • terriers4 - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        it doesn’t matter how much i hate a guy, i never want to see a guy end his career from an injury. Not even when kidding.

  6. taytay099 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I would kill to have him on the Canucks. What a player.

  7. scottybcboy - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Congrats, Big Z. When I saw him play in Prince George, WHL, never would have thought the ‘awkward, lanky, Slovak’ would play 1000 NHL games. A credit to his dedication and conditioning.

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