By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
If you were hoping for Brad Marchand to go classic Brad Marchand and try to chirp former teammate Zdeno Chara when the B’s and Capitals meet this weekend, you will be sorely disappointed.
Marchand simply has more sense than that.
“No, you don’t want to poke the bear,” Marchand said. “He’s the kind of guy where, when he’s out there, you’re an opponent. He’s not gonna have any friends out there. He’s gonna play the game and he’s gonna compete and battle.”
Giving up 12 inches and over 70 pounds in that battle, Marchand’s decision is sound in the name of self-preservation alone.
“I’m not gonna poke the bear in any way,” Marchand repeated. “Biggest thing is skate away from him, that’s all I can do, try to skate away from him. Because you get within that reach or within his grasp, you’re not going anywhere and obviously he’s one of the best defensemen in the world. He’s going to be tough to play against.”
For Marchand, this will be his first time playing against the 43-year-old Chara in a game situation since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which featured Marchand in a starring role for Team Canada opposite Chara on the underdog Team Europe squad.
With the Capitals after the Bruins opted to go with a youth movement on defense, Chara is off a solid start in his first season in Washington, with one goal and three points and a plus-7 in eight games played. Chara actually scored his first goal as a Capital in the team’s 6-3 victory over the Islanders on Thursday.
The fit seems to be there for Chara and the Capitals, and the Bruins are off to a fine start in the Post-Zee Era, but for those used to seeing the 6-foot-9 defender in Boston colors, it’s still a weird sight.
“It’ll be weird to see him in a different uniform,” Marchand admitted. “But again, there’s still two points to be played and we got to compete for that.”
Chara’s Capitals will go against the Bruins eight times in 2021.