Zdeno Chara on facing Bruins for the first time since his departure: ‘I love them as my brothers’

Chara left Boston to sign with the Capitals over the offseason.

Zdeno Chara is still getting settled into his new home with the Capitals.
Zdeno Chara is still getting settled into his new home with the Capitals. –AP Photo/Nick Wass

For the first time in 15 years, Zdeno Chara is set to face the Bruins.

The former Bruins defenseman is now in Washington D.C., where his Capitals will host the Bruins on Saturday night. While Chara’s 14 years in Boston came to an end just one month ago, he still has a great appreciation for his now-former teammates.

“I love them as my brothers,” Chara told reporters Friday. “We have something that’s very deep and goes far back, and I’ll obviously cherish those memories, those great celebrations we had, winning the Stanley Cup.”

“We have to do our jobs,” Chara said.

Bruins winger Brad Marchand isn’t going to mess with Chara. He told reporters following the Bruins’ win Thursday night that he doesn’t “want to poke the bear.” Chara still expects Marchand to play hard, though.

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“I don’t think it’s going to be any different,” Chara said. “He’s a guy who always goes out there and competes and tries to win for his teams. I think we had many practices against each other and we both compete pretty hard, so I don’t expect anything else from him or anybody else.”

Chara enters Saturday night’s tilt coming off his best performance of the season. Chara scored a goal and had an assist in the Capitals’ 6-3 win over the Islanders. His second-period goal extended the Capitals’ lead to 5-3 and caused his teammates to swarm him in celebration.

“It was a special moment for me,” Chara said of his first goal as a Capital. “I wanted to share that celebration with the entire bench, entire team. Since Day 1, they really helped me make the transition as easy as possible. They welcomed me with open arms and it was very helpful to get so much help from everybody … so I just wanted to share that joy with them. Just a great moment and great connection. Definitely something that I will always cherish.”

With the new divisions and schedule set for the 2020-21 NHL season due to COVID-19, the Bruins and Capitals are set to face each other eight times this season. Even though the main storyline for Saturday’s game is Chara taking on his old team, he said the focus should be on two teams that are contending for a Stanley Cup.

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“I don’t think it’s going to be as much about me playing against Boston Bruins,” Chara said. “These are two really good teams playing for two points that are going to be out there to grab, so I am going to prepare the same way just as I have been preparing for many years and many games.”

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