Each day this week we'll feature one player video from the end-of-the-year breakup session the Bruins held Monday at the TD Banknorth Garden. Today's video: Zdeno Chara.
Given the abrupt ending to their 2008-09 season, numerous players in the Bruins' locker room said you'd be hard pressed to find them watching the remainder of the NHL playoffs on television.
Versus can rest easy knowing it's still got one viewer in Boston: Zdeno Chara.
"You would love to be playing, for sure," said Chara. "To see other teams in the playoffs and battling for the Cup, it's something that gives you a little inspiration. There's nothing we can do about it now."
Chara hopes to use some of that inspiration to fuel next year's squad. The Bruins' captain said he had complete faith that management would do its best to bring back the nucleus of the this year's squad and believes there's no reason the team can't be the ones the other 14 teams in the Eastern Conference are watching on TV next year.
"We improved," said Chara. "We always tried to set goals and I think this year we did a pretty good job of reaching and accomplishing those goals. Next year is another step and we just need to keep moving forward to get better and better.
"Now that we've established ourselves in the league, now we have to take the next step."
The Bruins rocketed from the eighth and final seed in the 2008 playoffs (a first-round exit at the hand of the rival Canadiens) to the top seed in the Eastern Conference this winter. Even still, the team disappointingly bowed to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in the conference semifinals after a first-round sweep of Montreal.
What happened to the Bruins between rounds?
"I think to have nine days without a game, that's something that does not always benefit a team," said Chara. "During that period of time, you're trying to stay focused as much as you can, but it's hard because you try to relax and rest and we lost a little bit of that focus in that span. We played much better with our backs against the wall."
One thing that will aid Chara in better preparing for the 2009-10 season: he will not require offseason surgery, as he did a year ago on his shoulder. After battling shoulder, knee, and groin injuries during the season, Chara simply needs time to recuperate.
From the sounds of it, he'll pass some of that time in front of the TV.
Previous Exit Interviews