Appearing on Dale and Keefe last month, 43-year-old Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he wants to play "as long as I can and as long as I have fun and I love the game" and that he wasn't putting any sort of number on when he might retire.
On a Zoom call with season ticket holders on Tuesday, Chara was asked about what he might want to do after he retires and whether he sees himself staying around the game of hockey, and it seems he's leaving the door open on that front as well.
"It's obviously hard to answer," Chara said. "I don't know. I don't know what the future will bring. Possibly I could be involved. I've spent the majority of my life around hockey and the hockey environment. So definitely there is a lot I can offer, but we will see what the future brings and go from there."
Chara is an unrestricted free agent after this season, but he and the Bruins have been going year-to-year with one-year deals for the last two seasons, and presumably that would be the case again as long as there's mutual interest. Chara's current deal has a $2 million cap hit.
Here are some other highlights from Chara's town hall:
- Chara said he believes players will need 3-4 weeks of training camp before resuming games this season.
- When asked about the toughest opponent he's ever faced, Chara singled out former Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk as someone who always gave him trouble and was hard to defend because of how smart and how skilled he was. Chara also noted that practicing against Patrice Bergeron all these years hasn't been easy for much the same reason.
- Chara said he and his teammates have been doing regular Zoom calls the last few weeks after realizing that for the first few weeks of this shutdown, they hadn't been talking as a group as much as they wanted.
- Chara stated matter-of-factly that if the NHL returns this season, it will be without fans. While that obviously isn't surprising, it does seem indicative of a shift across the hockey world from holding out hope that maybe things could return to normalcy in a couple months to an acceptance that having fans at games simply isn't going to happen this summer.
- Chara said he doesn't have much preference as far as playing regular-season games first or going straight to the playoffs after training camp and that he'd be happy just to be playing any games again.