By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The world kind of stinks, you guys.
Eh, OK, fine. That may be an overstatement, or at least an oversimplification, but you know what I mean. People aren’t always very nice to each other. Increasingly, it seems like we’re all becoming a little more selfish. Civility is on the decline.
Maybe you agree with that, maybe you don’t. But what’s indisputable is that the one sacred place on earth that remains safe from all of society’s ills is the hockey handshake line.
Yes, yes, yes, the praise and worship of the sanctity of the handshake line often goes overboard, to the point of parody. It’s really not that novel of a concept to have competitors shake hands, you know? But still, it is a nice tradition, and the fact that teams have to shake Brad Marchand’s hand after heated playoff series will always be must-see TV.
And on Thursday night in Raleigh, we got ourselves a fantastic, Grade-A exchange in the handshake line.
It came when Zdeno Chara — who didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury but nevertheless suited up to partake in the postgame festivities — approached Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Through his own disappointment for getting swept just minutes prior, Brind’Amour managed to deliver a message to the Bruins captain.
“Much respect for you,” Brind’Amour said, putting a hand on Chara’s arm.
The 42-year-old Chara is closer in age to the 48-year-old Brind’Amour than he is to just about all of his teammates. And Brind’Amour, who won a Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes at age 35 in 2006, likely feels a pull for a player like Chara still grinding for a Cup at such an age.
Chara tried his best to say that the respect was mutual, as Brind’Amour joked that Chara “can’t keep doing this.” Brind’Amour then wished Chara luck, and that was that.
A day later, Chara shared his thoughts on the message from Brind’Amour, via his Instagram page.
“Rod is a true leader and was a tough warrior to play against,” Chara wrote in the caption. “At last night’s handshakes his words meant a lot to me. Balancing respect and intensity are what playoffs are all about.”
In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t necessary life-altering. But it was nevertheless a positive moment in a world that sometimes needs one.