What's Wrong With Chara?
The question that's been floating around the media since last night is what the heck is wrong with Zdeno Chara?
Stats aside, Chara's body language has been that of a defeated/hurt/exhausted hockey player. Even in Game One you could tell something was wrong.
I don't have a horse in this race, but it kind of hurts to see Chara struggle so much. It sucks to see any player on the big stage perform at a level that isn't close to what they play to. I know Chara has had his head chopped off for some incident's (ask Max), but everyone has their dark moments. Usually when I watch Chara, he has a jump in his step and his shot is a cannon.
Except last night, it was like watching Yao Ming on skates. On Daniel Sedin's tying goal, Chara was spinning around looking for the puck in his feet for like five seconds before being beaten by Henrik Sedin for the puck. Then, on the overtime goal, he looked exhausted chasing Alex Burrows. For a huge man, Burrows (who isn't that big) had the jump on Chara, and even when the puck went out of Burrows' reach, Chara's 6'9 range couldn't get the job done.
It seemed that Zdeno was like a teenager that just can't get used to their huge frame. So what's wrong? There's a number of reasons.
The first is that Chara could easily be injured. Most guys are playing with minor injuries, but in this day and age a lot is kept quiet. So in essence, he could have an injury and is playing through the pain, or trying to anyways.
Second, he might still be having some dehydration problems from the Montreal series. When you get dehydrated and you're on the ice every day, it's very difficult to get re-hydrated. I've had the situation before, and when you have dehydration, you literally can't walk or do anything. It wouldn't surprise me if he's still feeling the effects.
I'm not sure what else the problem is. Bruins fans are killing the guy like Wings fans did to Marian Hossa. Then in the offseason comes around and Hossa has a torn rotator cuff. I bet Chara has something hindering him.
Clearly the Ottawa Senators would like him back any day instead of Wade Redden. But Boston brought him in to be the best player on the ice and he hasn't shown it yet in the Finals.
And it's quite possible it's just psychological. Maybe if some bounces go his way he'll gain some confidence. He won't be throwing pucks away or making soft passes.
You'll see the Chara that will kill you if you go into the corner and the big blast on the powerplay (if Claude Julien keeps it that way).
Game 3 just might be the defining moment in Chara's career.