Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Figuring out Bruins' Chara Is an 'Ongoing Battle' for Blackhawks in Cup Final

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Figuring out Bruins' Chara Is an 'Ongoing Battle' for Blackhawks in Cup Final

Article excerpt

Figuring out Chara is an 'ongoing battle'

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CHICAGO - Zdeno Chara doesn't blend in with any crowd. At six-foot-nine, the Boston Bruins captain is noticeable whenever he's on the ice.

When he was out there for five Chicago Blackhawks goals in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, suddenly he was the centre of attention. Jonathan Toews wondered if he and his teammates exposed Chara or in some way figured him out.

"A lot of people have tried to figure out Zdeno, and he's the type of player he is," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "He's one of the best defencemen in the league, so I don't think there's too many flaws in his game."

There aren't. Naturally left-winger Patrick Sharp was quick to say that the Blackhawks are "definitely not sitting in here thinking we've got him figured out. That's ridiculous."

"That's an ongoing battle, ongoing challenge," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Big minutes, big man, positionally strong and aware. I just think that whether you're going away from him or at him, you've got to do some things to play in your favour."

Chicago has tried, just as every other opponent has, to solve a player who's in the Norris Trophy discussion every year. Go right at him? Avoid him? The Blackhawks' goal has been to put the puck in his corner and try to hit him as much as possible.

"He logs a lot of minutes. To hit him, just to finish your check - not a huge hit - you just need to wear him down and just know that we're coming on him," Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell said. "Forcing him, maybe we'll get some turnovers or just wear him down, but we just need to get our hits in when we can."

The Blackhawks have plenty of chances to take the body on Chara. Through 20 playoff games, he has played 600 minutes, almost 50 more than the closest player, Chicago's Duncan Keith.

But Bruins teammates aren't convinced the heavy work load takes a toll on Chara. …

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