We knew from previous comments from Zdeno Chara's agent that the 43-year-old longtime Bruins captain -- and current free agent -- wanted to wait to see what the upcoming season was going to look like before making any sort of decision.
Well, we now know what the season will look and we know that it will begin on Jan. 13, so naturally attention has shifted back to Chara and his pending decision.
On Monday, Bruins president Cam Neely offered the team's side of things and said they "still have to flesh that out."
Now we also have Chara's side of where things stand. Speaking to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, Chara's agent, Matt Keator, said they've had "20-plus" teams reach out, but that Chara's "focus right now is to talk to Boston," something he expects to happen in the next few days.
Keator adds that retirement is still an option, but that Chara "seems very interested in playing if it's the right fit."
Neely seemed to suggest that the Bruins would also be interested in having those talks with Chara and offered a hint at what will be discussed beyond the obvious (money).
"I think it really depends on what he feels he can do and help us, and we have to feel the same way, how that looks," Neely said Monday. "Is that something that he would be comfortable with, how we maybe envision it looking compared to maybe how he feels it may look?"
Reading into that, it's clear that Chara's role will be a key part of the two sides' discussions. If, say, the Bruins tell Chara, "We see you as a third-pairing, penalty-killing defenseman on this team now," would Chara be OK with that? Or would he want to try to find an opportunity with a team that still views him as a top-four defenseman?
We also can't rule out the possibility that perhaps the Bruins don't actually want to bring Chara back and are just trying to be as nice as possible and not say the wrong thing given everything Chara has done and meant for them.
Chara made it clear after the season that his preference was to stay in Boston, and Keator saying his focus now is to talk to Boston suggests that the Bruins remain his top choice in an ideal world.
There still seems to be a pretty natural fit if both sides are interested, especially given the question marks on the left side of the Bruins' defense, but as of now, we continue to wait to see if there even is mutual interest or if anything gets done. Either way, we should know soon enough.