BOSTON (CBS) — Zdeno Chara has been the elder statesman of the Boston Bruins for some time. That title now stretches out to the entire NHL.
With 43-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen officially retiring on Wednesday, Chara is now the oldest active player in the league. The Boston captain turned 42 in March, and will play through at least next season after inking a one-year contract with the B’s last season.
While he’s no longer the dominant defenseman he once was, Chara still had a solid season on Boston’s blue line during the 2018-19 campaign. He finished the regular season a plus-22, and was a plus-11 with a pair of goals and four assists in Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. He played the final three games of the Cup Finals against the Blues with a broken jaw, which was being held together by plates, wires and screws, further adding to his gladiator status in the NHL.
Chara made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders during the 1997-98 season, and has spent the last 13 seasons in Boston. He has a long ways to go to become the oldest player in NHL history; that honor belongs to Gordie Howe, who was 52 when he took the ice for the Hartford Whalers back in 1980.