Zdeno Chara is the oldest active player in the NHL at the tender age of 43. He spent 15 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Bruins before shocking the hockey world and signing a one-year contract with the Capitals on Dec. 30.
In 1,560 career regular season games (between Islanders, Senators, Bruins and Caps) and 195 more in the playoffs, “Big Z” has collected 223 combined goals. But none could have been taller – or have had the best reaction – than the one he scored on Thursday night.
In the second period, the older statesman got the puck on the left point and fired a shot that passed traffic before beating Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov at the stick end. Quick Note: Chara won the NHL’s toughest shooting competitions five consecutive years (2007-12) and holds the record at 108.8 mph.
Of course, it was a special goal because it was his first with the Capitals in his eighth game (he had already secured an assist on Thursday). But what happened next will surely give you all the sensations.
After Chara scored, the camera showed him that he was under assault on the Capitals bench. Craig Laughlin of NBC Sports Washington exclaimed, “Big Z with all his kids around him, love it!”
It was quite a scene on the bench and the old man had the biggest smile as the “kids” invaded him and patted him on the head. By the way, it’s no easy task because Chara certainly lives up to his nickname, with a best 6-9 in the NHL.
The goal also capped a flurry of scorers for the Capitals, who entered the middle frame in a 3-0 hole. Connor Sheary kicked off the comeback with two goals before Garnet Hathaway, John Carlson and Chara were added to the stack. The five goals were played in nine minutes and 23 seconds.