BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Marchand has made a career out of chirping his opponents (among a wide variety of other things that he does to them), but he will not be chirping one member of the Washington Capitals on Saturday evening.
And for good reason. That one player who will be spared from Marchand’s antics is Zdeno Chara, the long-time Bruins captain who signed with Washington over the offseason. Marchand knows better than to talk smack to the 6-foot-9 Chara.READ MORE: Watch Live @ 9 AM: Baker Announcement On COVID Vaccinations In Massachusetts
Even if they spent over a decade together as teammates, Marchand knows that Chara won’t be very cordial when they meet as opponents for the first time this weekend. He’d prefer not to be on the receiving end of the wrath that he saw Chara dish out so many times over the years.
“We don’t want to poke the bear,” Marchand said after Boston’s 4-1 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday night. “He’s the kind of guy where when he’s out there, you’re an opponent. He’s not going to have any friends out there. He’s going to play the game and he’s going to compete and battle.
“I’m not going to poke the bear in any way,” Marchand reiterated. “The biggest thing is to skate away from him. That’s all I can do is try to skate away from him, because if you get within that reach you’re within his grasp. You’re not going anywhere.”
A very wise decision from the 5-foot-9 Marchand. Chara left the Bruins this offseason after the team offered him a diminished role, and he’s been a big hit in Washington. On Thursday night, Big Zee scored his first goal with his new team.
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Through his first eight games with the Caps, Chara is averaging over 20 minutes of ice time and is a plus-7 for the season.
“It will be funny to see him in a different uniform,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday before catching himself. “Funny isn’t the right word. It will be odd to not see him in a Bruins jersey.”
Cassidy said that he and the former B’s captain got along well during their time together, and he’ll never forget how much Chara helped him in his first days as Bruins head coach.
“He helped me a lot more than I helped him,” Cassidy recalled. “He had been in the league a long time. So I’ve always appreciated that. I’ve made it known to him. But once the puck drops, I think you forget about that stuff. You just play hockey and let it go from there.
“I think he’ll come out, and we’ll see his best,” Cassidy added. “He bled black and gold here for the Bruins for years and I think he’s going to want to show his teammates and everyone in the organization that he can still bring it. I would expect nothing less.”MORE NEWS: Boston May Transition Away From Fenway Park As Mass COVID Vaccination Site
Saturday’s tilt in Washington is a big one for both teams. Boston won its fourth straight Thursday night to improve to 7-5-1 on the season — good for second place in the East Division. The Capitals are the only team ahead of the Bruins at 8-5-0 on the year.