March 24, 2012

Game 1,000 yet another feather Bruins' Chara can add to cap

By Jesse Connolly

In honor of Zdeno Chara playing in the 1,000th game of his NHL career tonight, this edition of The Numbers Game is dedicated to the behemoth defenseman. 

O’ captain, my captain

* In the 85 years that the NHL has exclusively been the league handing out the Stanley Cup, only two European captains have been awarded it. The first was Nicklas Lidstrom in 2008 with Detroit. Chara became the second in 2011.

* If you want to get technical, Chara was the first player to captain the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship since Dit Clapper guided the B’s to glory in 1941. Boston, of course, won the Cup in ’70 and ’72, but no one officially wore the ‘C’ from 1967-73.

* If Chara remains in Boston, as captain, for the remainder of his contract (which expires in 2018), he’ll have served the role for 12 full seasons. Only Ray Bourque’s tenure as captain (1985-2000) will have been longer.

Slick Slovak

* Chara will become the fourth player of Slovakian descent to appear in 1,000 NHL games tonight. Stan Mikita leads the pack (1,394), Peter Bondra (1,081) ranks second and one-time Bruin Miroslav Satan (1,050) ranks third.

* No defenseman from Slovakia has scored more NHL goals than Chara (136). Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky ranks second with 116. The next closest active player is Andrej Meszaros (49).

* Chara also holds a narrow edge over Visnovsky in career points by a Slovak defenseman with 451 to the Ducks’ rearguard’s 449.

* You’d be hard-pressed to find any category where Chara doesn’t rank near the top among his countrymen.  No. 33 is tops in penalty minutes (1,465), second in plus-minus (+141) behind Marian Hossa (+167) and sixth in shots on goal (2,202).

Bruins history

* Entering game No. 1,000, Chara has 276 points in 469 career games as a member of the Bruins. He needs three more to tie the immortal Eddie Shore, who had 279 points in 540 games from 1927-40.

* Chara (+93) and David Krejci (+52) are the only players in the B’s top 40 for all-time, plus-minus rating that have played with the club at any point from 2001-12.

* Among players used exclusively as a defenseman, Chara ranks sixth in goals on the B's all-time list.

NHL history

* There are currently eight active NHL defensemen who have played in 1,000 NHL games. Chara will make that nine tonight.

* Among all active d-men, Chara’s plus-141 career rating only trails Nicklas Lidstrom. It’s by a mile, however. The Wings’ captain is plus-454.

* In the big scheme of things, Chara ranks 67th all-time in career points by a defenseman.

Feeling a Draft

* Chara was selected 56th overall by the Islanders in 1996.

* Thirteen of the 55 players picked before him never played a single game in the NHL.

* Thirty-one of the 55 players picked before him never reached the 100-game mark in the National Hockey League.

* Among all ’96 draftees, Chara ranks fourth in career games played, eighth in goals, fifth in assists, seventh in points and first in penalty minutes.

* Among defensemen drafted in ’96, Chara ranks second in games played, first in goals, second in assists, second in points and (obviously) first in penalty minutes.

* NHL GMs collectively selected 21 defensemen before Mike Milbury and the Islanders took a chance on the 6-foot-9 Slovak.