Once Feared and Dominant, Zdeno Chara’s Decline Apparent at the World Cup of Hockey
TORONTO — Zdeno Chara’s tower of terror routine is antiquated. It’s old, dated.
Once a fearsome figure on the blue line, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder from Slovakia is in the cooldown stage of a Hall of Fame-worthy career. There’s no counterargument to be made.
Despite the dip in on-ice performance, Chara, an alternate captain for Team Europe here at the World Cup of Hockey, still is a cultural behemoth, someone admired by seemingly everyone in the sport.
“He’s definitely been a tower in more ways than his physical presence,” Europe coach Ralph Krueger gushed earlier this week. “It’s the man inside of that tower that is really amazing to work with. It’s been such a pleasure.”
While still a useful NHLer, Chara sure looks his age — 39 — in between the boards. One of the top shutdown defencemen of his generation, Chara has lost a step (or four) since winning the Norris Trophy in 2009.