Thousands of defensemen have played in the National Hockey League during its existence, yet only a select few have ever been acknowledged as the game’s best. For Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara, it has become almost an annual rite.
Chara was named as a finalist for the Norris Trophy for the fourth time in his career on Monday, just a day before the Bruins take to the ice in Montreal to finish out their conference quarterfinal series with the Canadiens.
Chara, who won the award in 2009, was gracious in his comments regarding his nomination.
“I’m very humble and very thankful,’’ Chara told the Boston Globe. “Especially after you consider how many guys had such a great season — a breakout season. I’m just very thankful that people who did vote recognized the definition of the Norris Trophy award.’’
According to NHL.com, the Norris Trophy is awarded to the player who “demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
That would certainly describe Chara, who continually provides solid offense to go with this shutdown defense.
But Chara understands the totality of the position and what it entails better than most.
“I just want to help the team as much I can to win,’’ Chara said. “That was always my first thing. I always want to put the team in front of egos or individual goals. To me, that’s the most important thing, and everything else will fall into place.
“I know I’m not the extremely skilled defenseman who’s going to put probably 70 points on the board every year. But I know if I play my game, I give my team a good chance to win hockey games. That’s all I can do.’’
And throughout his career, that’s exactly what Chara has done.
For continuing coverage of the Boston Bruins, follow us on Twitter @chowdaheadz.