When it comes to age and contract status, those numbers don’t matter to Zdeno Chara.
The 40-year-old captain of the Bruins enters his 20th season in the NHL and he’s hoping for many more. He has one season and $4 million remaining on his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“I definitely want to play beyond this season,” he said. “It’s really hard to put a number on it. Some people do, some people don’t. I just want to play longer than this season. Yeah, I just want to continue to play. I love this game too much and I want to keep playing.”
Last season, he played in his 1,300th NHL game on Dec. 14, 2016 and recorded his 600th career point on March 28, 2017. He arrived in Boston recently and was on the ice for captains’ practice on Tuesday. While he’s focused on the upcoming season, he did say he would be open to a contract extension.
“Yeah, I would be,” he said. “There are no secrets about that. I obviously want to stay here and continue to play.”
A member of the Slovakian Olympic team, Chara also said he still believes there’s a possibility NHL players will be allowed to play in the 2018 Winter Games. The NHL has already said it won’t break for the Olympics and its players won’t be allowed to represent their countries.
“I’m a believer,” Chara said. “I’m still believing it’s going to happen. I know it sounds crazy but it’s something I still believe that we’ll still be able to go. It’s too bad it got to the point that the best players in the world are not going to be participating in the Olympics. Fans are going to be disappointed. We are disappointed but I think the fans are going to be even more disappointed.”