Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/03/10 at 01:13 PM ET
Adam Proteau of The Hockey News answers some email…
Why is Zdeno Chara always talked about as one of the NHL’s top defensemen? When the Bruins gave him a seven-year extension this year, I had to shake my head.
Sure, he’s got a heck of a reach and a blistering shot, but it seems like (a) he’s always getting burned at the blueline by small, agile skaters (like Martin St-Louis); (b) his shots are never on net; (c) he turns the puck over every time he takes more than two strides with it; and (d) he’s always taking mental-mistake penalties at the worst times….
Certainly, there are people in the hockey industry who feel as you do, but I’m not one of them. Which isn’t to say I put Chara at or near the top of my Norris ballot each year – in fact, he wasn’t in my top five last season.
That said, the guy averages two more minutes of ice time than any other Bruins skater; has missed an average of just five games in each of the past eight seasons; currently is tied for second on the team in plus-minus (at plus-13); and, since he was traded from the Islanders organization in 2001, has been a plus-156 in 639 regular season games.
That may not qualify him for Hall of Fame status, but in today’s NHL, Chara’s skill set is more valuable than you imply….
more Q & A inlcuding Detroit trading Jiri Hudler and a pick for Martin Brodeur….
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