Connect with us

New York Islanders

If This is the End, Zdeno Chara Goes Out in Style



Zdeno Chara

The New York Islanders ended their regular season with a 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. But the game was not the main story. Zdeno Chara was.

In what is expected to be Zdeno Chara’s last game in his illustrious 24-year NHL career, the fan base throughout the contest cheered for him to shoot every time he had the puck on his stick in the offensive zone.

With less than a minute to play in the third period, Chara shot the puck and beat Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The crowd erupted.

The chanting continued for Zdeno Chara throughout a New York Islanders timeout and as the seconds wained off the clock in the third period.

After the final horn sounded, the Islanders went and hugged their netminder Ilya Sorokin but each player hugged Chara in what was a special moment. That special moment continued when the Tampa Bay Lightning team came over, and one by one shook his hand.

Following the game, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz walked into his postgame press conference and immediately said that Zdeno Chara had not announced his retirement, but what he saw in the final moments of the game and what followed he had never seen before.

“I’m gonna just say I have not seen that ever in 20 years of the game,” Trotz said. “He has not said anything about retiring, either to us or anybody else. But the other team after the game coming over and saying, you know, ‘can we shake his hand?’, that just tells me that, you know, how much respect this player has garnered through the league, through the players who played against him, players who have interacted with him.”

“All that says volumes about what he’s accomplished as a human being in this game. If he continues to play, which he can, we’ll be better for it. And if he decides that he’s going to spend time with his family, he’s left the game in a great spot.”

For Zdeno Chara, the moment was unexpected but something he will never forget.

“It was just completely unexpected and it was just amazing feeling obviously, you know to have that support from the fans and you know, they were giving us all season long. I can’t really describe it. It was just, you know, it was, I was getting chills. It was just a spectacular moment and I will cherish that for the rest of my life.”

Chara has not made a final decision about his career.

“I want to go home. I want to go home to my family,” Chara said. “I’ve got to take some time off and you know, once I’m gonna, you know, make decisions, then I’ll make it, but, you know, I think that right now I just want to be home and be with my family and just enjoy kind of being home and being a dad and yeah, so I haven’t made a firm final decision.”

As for what the night was like for Chara, it was overwhelming but also truly special.

“I’m so happy it’s just overwhelming,” Chara said. “You know, like I said, I never wanted to make anything about me. You know, I always thought that, you know, this is a team game and you know, it’s always about the team and when, you know, it starts getting to the point where, you know, where you’re getting that, you know, crowd involved and fans are really showing their appreciation, you know, players are getting pucks. It’s just, you know, it’s a little bit uncomfortable, to be honest with you, but at the same time, you know, I have been very, very blessed and grateful and honored.”

Noah Dobson, who has been mentored by Zdeno Chara the entire season, was present during his media availability and although the attention was on Chara, Dobson was asked one question and his response embodied what his time with Chara meant.

“He’s been a great mentor on and off the ice and he’s been a great guy just to play alongside,” Dobson said. “I think, at the start, we weren’t very comfortable with each other but once we got that comfort level, we did a pretty good job together.”

“And just like I said, I’m very grateful to be able to say one day that I played alongside him for a season.”



Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.


Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

NYI Team & Cap Info

Recent Comments

Get the best of NYI Hockey Now in your inbox

Sign-up and get all of the best Islanders breaking news and analysis sent straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.