The Washington chapter of the PHWA* announced on Monday that it nominated Zdeno Chara as the Capitals’ representative for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The award is given out annually to the NHL player who shows the most perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Chara, 44, is playing in his 23rd season in the NHL.
The Washington chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Zdeno Chara for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 10, 2021
“It’s a huge honor,” Chara said. “It’s something I take big pride in. I expressed that many times. I love this game. This game give me and my family a lot. I learn a lot from this game. Obviously, I try to do my best every day I come to the rink and be a good example on and off the ice. Do the things that can improve or make a difference for the team.”
Chara, who considered retirement over the offseason, opted to leave the Boston Bruins and sign with the Washington Capitals. Zee proceeded to miss only one game – a second game of a back-to-back. If Chara plays in Tuesday’s game against the Bruins, it will mark his 1,608th career game played, which is the fifth-most by a defenseman in NHL history and four games shy of Ray Bourque for the fourth-most all-time. Chara is one of 13 players ever to play in over 1,600 games.
From the Capitals PR:
This season, Chara ranks fifth on the team in time on ice (987:30). The 44-year-old defenseman leads the Capitals in shorthanded minutes (146:15) and ranks 15th among NHL defensemen. If Chara skates at least 12:30 tomorrow night against Boston, he will become the second defenseman since 1997-98 – the first season the NHL began tracking TOI – to skate in 1,000 minutes in a season at the age of 44 or older (Chris Chelios, three times: 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08). Additionally, Chara who has averaged 18:17 per game this season, joins Chelios (2005-06 and 2006-07) to average at least 18 minutes per game at the age of 44 or older.
Chara, who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011, will become the seventh player in NHL history to appear in a playoff game at age 44 or older. He would follow Gordie Howe (52 years, 11 days in 1980), Chelios (47 years, 122 days in 2009), Johnny Bower (44 years, 149 days in 1969), Lester Patrick (44 years, 99 days in 1928), Jacques Plante (44 years, 78 days in 1973) and Jaromir Jagr (44 years, 69 days in 2016), who all are listed with their age at the time of their last playoff game. Chelios (1g, 6a in 44 games), Howe (1g, 1a in three games) and Jagr (2a in six games) all registered points; the others were goaltenders, including Patrick who traded his duties as New York Rangers coach to play in net for one playoff game. Only Chelios (age 46 in 2008) and Patrick (1928 NYR) won the Cup at age 44 or older.
Chara spent the majority of the season with Nick Jensen on the third pairing. On special teams, he was primarily used as a penalty kill specialist but sometimes took shifts on the power play. Earlier in the season, he became the oldest player to receive a fighting major after getting in a dustup with Matt Martin to defend new acquisition Michael Raffl. He’s been the alternate captain several games this season.
“You watch him at the end of games,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said. “He understands game situations. He understands where to put the puck. How to defend in front of our net. How to stop the cycle. He does all the little things that you want a veteran player. He’s a good leadership guy. He just adds so much on a whole bunch of different levels. He’s good for the coaching staff. He’s good for young players. He’s good our main guys too. He holds guys accountable. He’s just a good player to have and a good leader to have in your organization.”
Here’s the full list of Masteron Trophy nominees via the NHL’s PR.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 10, 2021
* RMNB is not a member of the PHWA
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