Monday, April 2, 2012
Big Z Laughs At Your NHL Second Star Of The Week Award
It's been quite a whirlwind week for Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
For his individual efforts in four games last week (7 assists, +6), Chara was named the NHL's second star of the week. Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was No. 1 while Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith was No. 3 behind Chara.
Big Z played his 1000th NHL game in Los Angeles then was recognized for that amazing feat last Tuesday at TD Garden vs. Tampa Bay. Always a team-first guy, Chara's squad went 3-0-1 last week and clinched both the Northeast Division title (their third in four years) and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with last night's win against the Rangers at MSG.
When the Bruins were going through their lengthy midseason slump, it was a direct result of their two most important players: goaltender Tim Thomas and Chara not being themselves. Well that script has flipped as Thomas is playing very well now and Chara is back in the Norris trophy discussion.
For the season, Chara has 12 goals and 40 assists in 77 games. Boston has three more games this week before the real fun starts next week. We know they'll have home-ice advantage and it looks like they'll probably meet division foe Ottawa in the first-round. Expect Chara and Dennis Seidenberg to be reunited as the Bruins' shutdown defensive pairing once again in the playoffs.
In other Black and Gold news from today, goaltender Anton Khudobin was called up from Providence for the first time this season. He would have been sent to Boston after Tuukka Rask got hurt but unfortunately Khudobin had a wrist injury at the exact same time.
He was 21-19-3 in Providence this season with a 2.61 goals against average and .919 save percentage for a team that wasn't very good and won't make the AHL playoffs. Since Marty Turco can't play in the playoffs (because he was acquired after the trade deadline), Khudobin could potentially be Tim Thomas' backup at the start of the postseason if Rask isn't healthy yet.
Khudobin was the third goaltender during the playoffs last season, part of the Black Aces (NHL's practice squad) who never appear in the games.