NHL Notebook: Chara emphasizes clear communication on the ice

Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has a strict rule that every player, no matter where they’re from, needs to speak English in the locker room and on the ice.

However, if linemates speak the same native tongue, they get a pass on the ice. That’s the case for Czech natives David Krejci and David Pastrnak. That’s one small reason why coach Bruce Cassidy likes having those two on the same line because they can communicate well on the ice. Krejci said it’s 80 percent English on the ice with Pastrnak. On the bench, it’s Czech.

“Sometimes those hockey phrases you already have them in your head [in English] like ‘reverse’ or ‘behind you’ or if there’s a puck in your feet you yell ‘feet’ or ‘skates.’ When I played on the national team you have to speak Czech and sometimes I just didn’t say anything because I couldn’t think in that split second whether to speak Czech or English,” explained Krejci. “With Pasta, it’s whatever comes first because he understands both languages well.”

Rookie Jake DeBrusk has been playing with Krejci and Pastrnak during training camp and he’s quickly learned how well those two communicate on the ice. When asked if they speak English, DeBrusk said with a laugh: “They don’t. It’s kind of funny, to be honest. I’m Canadian so I’m used to people speaking French, but sometimes they don’t, but today they were speaking English for me.”