Bruins

Zdeno Chara focuses on big picture over new playoff format: ‘We have to be grateful for the opportunity we’re getting’

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara isn’t looking for excuses when it comes to the NHL’s revamped “Return to Play” format — especially in regards to a round-robin tournament that could knock Boston out of the top seed over the span of just three games. 

Rather than bemoan the current plan and how it could prove costly for a Bruins club sitting eight, 10 and 11 points ahead of the other top-seeded clubs in the Lightning, Capitals and Flyers, Chara instead took the high road and opted to take focus more on the bigger picture. 

Sure, the current system in place might be unorthodox and doesn’t exactly cater to the track record Boston established over 70 regular-season games. But in the midst of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chara stressed that harping on something as trivial as playoff formats should be far from the priority.

Even though the NHL and NHLPA still have many hoops to jump through in terms of getting this resumption of play off the ground, this new format at least offers the Bruins and 23 other clubs an opportunity to see this season through. 

We heard about the possible formats, different options, etc. It’s not going to be perfect,” Chara said. “I think you have to realize that any time you have this kind of unexpected stoppage with teams being at different points of their peaks of the season and obviously different amount of games, you have to come up with some sort of solution. … I think at this point what we see is probably the best. It does affect everyone and every team, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really blame anyone or feel that it’s unfair.

"For us, I think that we have to be grateful for the opportunity we’re getting. When you kind of look at the real-life perspective, what other people’s families, businesses go through, it’s one of those things that we’re getting the opportunity to basically start almost where we ended the season. Not everybody’s getting the same chance. A lot of people lost a lot of financial support, businesses went down, and they’ll never get the same opportunities, so we have to be grateful for the opportunity and take it as a huge motivation and excitement and kind of embrace it."

Rather than dwell on the negatives that come with getting back on the ice, Chara has