Zdeno Chara seems off so far this season. The minutes are there and the defense is there, but it seems as if maybe he has lost a step. It would make sense with his age and all, but the guy keeps himself in ridiculous shape.
When I reach his age, I’ll be lucky if I can get off the couch. This is why I think the Boston Bruins need to give Chara nights off throughout the year. Whether he wants them or not, they need him for the playoffs and his legs need to be kept healthy down the stretch. If he is not going to be the dominant force in the playoffs, it really doesn’t matter if he is going to give the team consistent solid numbers throughout the year.
The Bruins have Tuukka Rask, and he has been carrying the Bruins defensively so far anyway. They can let the younger guys play when they know their last line of defense is capable of bailing them out. This should give the Bruins confidence in giving guys like Chara the night off here and there. When they have someone that means so much to their organization, its imperative that they try and take care of him as best as possible.
There are a few things the Bruins need going forward: great goaltending, great defense and their captain. Chara is the centerpiece to all three of those things — the heart and soul of the team and a leader who leads by example. They should not burn him out by December.