Saturday marks a big day for Captain Zdeno Chara as he becomes the 277th player overall (91st defenseman) to reach his 1,000 career game. He will be the eleventh player to do so wearing a Bruins jersey.
Chara joined the NHL in June of 1996 when he was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round (56th overall). Just over a year later on November 19, 1997 he would appear in his first professional game as an Islander against the Detroit Red Wings. He played in 231 games with New York when he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Alexei Yashin in 2001. It wouldn’t be until 2006 that the Boston Bruins would sign the 6’9″ unrestricted free agent.
He would sign a five-year $37.5 million dollar contract and be named Captain of the Boston Bruins, filling the now San Jose Shark Joe Thornton‘s skates. He became only the third Slovak-born NHL player to become a team captain, after Peter Stastny (Quebec Nordiques) and Stan Mikita (Chicago Blackhawks).
Since being in the NHL Chara has been named to six All-Star Games, captaining the 2012 team. He currently holds the world record for hardest slap shot, registering 108.8mph, beatging his previous record of 105.9 in 2011. In 2009 he won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, in 2010 he represented Slovakia in the World Olympics and in 2011 would win the NHL plus/minus award with a +33 along with Mark Messier Leadership Award and Stanley Cup.
Currently Chara has 136 goals and 315 assists for 451 points, 44 of those being from this season alone as he stands with a +25. Saturday, March 27, the Bruins are to take on the Los Angeles Kings, marking Chara’s large milestone, so if you’re in the area, be sure to congratulate the phenomenal Captain on such a great achievement.