BOSTON (AP) — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara says he wants to play next season, when he will turn 44 — and he wants to do it in Boston.
Chara said that he was still raw from the Bruins’ playoff elimination when he said Monday night, “I’m going to be open-minded” about returning. On Thursday, he clarified: “I feel strong physically and I’m positive and I believe I can still play this game and contribute to the team and I want to stay in Boston.”
“I want to be a Boston Bruin,” he said on a conference call with reporters. “I want to continue to lead by example and share my experiences and my game skills with the younger players and my teammates. That hasn’t changed. I’m committed and we’ll see what’s going to happen next.”
A seven-time All-Star and the 2009 Norris Trophy winner, Chara is an unrestricted free agent who played last year on a one-year, $2 million deal.
The Bruins, who made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season, were eliminated on Monday night in the second-round of the playoffs in five games by the Tampa Bay Lighting, who won 3-2 in double overtime.
Asked about his future, Chara said “I haven’t made that decision.”
“Obviously, to be asked about my future, just a few minutes after the double overtime loss and the way we battled and how well we played in that game, I was still so sad about the outcome,” he said Thursday.
“I’m committed to the Boston Bruins. I’m committed to Boston fans and the city of Boston,” said Chara, who has played the last 14 years of his 22-year career with the team. “I’m excited about the future of this team and like I said, we are going to do whatever we can to win another Stanley Cup.”
The 6-foot-9 Slovak said he has asked his agent to meet with the team.
“I make that my priority. The sooner the better and see what the future holds,” he said. “I love Boston. I love the city. I think we have the best fans in the world and I have no plans to move or kind of go anywhere else. So, we will see what the future holds.”
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