PRAGUE -- A large local media contingent was lined up in front of the downtown hotel here when the bus carrying the Boston Bruins arrived curbside. No. 1 target, Zdeno Chara, whose Slovak roots and Czech fluency make him a media darling in this part of the world.
''They wanted to know things like, 'How's traveling?....what was the game like [Saturday night] in Belfast?...how many tickets will I need for the games here?....will my parents and friends be coming?''' Chara told a visitor from Boston once the local media crush dissipated. ''All good. It's nice being back here.''
Later, in a one-on-one interview with a Globe reporter that touched on many subjects, Chara didn't sound inclined to pursue an 11-year contract extension, contrary to a report out of Belfast over the weekend.
A Comcast Sports New England online story conjectured that Chara, on track to be an unrestricted free agent Juy 1, 2011, could be angling for an 11-year deal in the Hub, a pact that would end about a month after his 45th birthday. Asked about such a protracted term length today, during a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with the Globe, the relaxed big man said he would like a long-term pact, but one pegged around his 40th birthday.
''To be realistic,'' he said, ''probably something more like six or seven years. Eleven years? That probably would be too much. Think about it, 44-45 years old, that's proabably too far to shoot for...I'd rather focus on maybe 7-8 years. You want to be able to vision the distance.''
A day off skates
The Bruins didn't practice today, after arriving here following a 2 1/2-hour British Airways charter flight from Belfast. They'll be back on the ice for workouts Monday and again Tuesday morning prior to facing Liberec HC in an exhibition game in that city in the evening. The B's will return here the same night and then log three solid days of workouts prior to the season puck drop Saturday night.
Old pal Rob ''Biscuit'' Simpson, former NESN sideline reporter for B's games, joined the traveling contingent. He's preparing various video pieces, including one that will air on Comcast Sports New England.
Julien looks to power up
Coach Claude Julien reported that there were no bangs and bruises from Saturday's game, which included a pair of Tyler Seguin goals. Look for Julien to continue to tinker with power play trios and point pairings this week. He said after the win in Belfast that the units still need considerable shaping up.