Facing Chara will be a 'tall' order for Blackhawks

Facing Chara will be a 'tall' order for Blackhawks

June 11, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Nina Falcone

At 6-foot-9, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara stands nearly a foot taller than Andrew Shaw.

Despite his smaller stature, the Blackhawks forward hasn't been afraid to show his physical side throughout the season. But when it comes to facing Chara in the Stanley Cup Final, Shaw has a new plan ready to go:

"Don't get hit," Shaw laughed. "Because you know he can throw heavy punches."

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The Blackhawks will face a Bruins captain that not only towers over his opponents with his 255-pound frame, but also possesses the skating and stick handling skills that have led him to record two goals and nine assists since the postseason began -- the most of any Boston defenseman.

"It’s pretty crazy to see a guy who’s 7-foot or however tall he is, and I saw him do a spin-o-rama earlier this season," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "The way he can make plays, he’s a big boy. He obviously shoots the puck hard but the things he can make finesse-wise, it’s pretty fun to watch."

For the players on the ice, there's no escaping Chara, who's recorded over 30 minutes of ice time in five of his team's 16 playoff games. While his physical play and record-breaking slap shot are enough make him stand out night after night, Chara's captain-like qualities also impress the Blackhawks.

"A guy like Chara, he's so big, physical, skilled. But the thing that impresses me the most about him is his work ethic and leadership skills," Patrick Sharp said. "He's a guy that if you happen to get him one shift, he's going to come back and play even harder. He's a tough guy to play against. We know that going into the series. We've seen guys like that every series."

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If there's one Blackhawks player who knows what his team is getting into best, it's Marian Hossa. Not only are he and Chara good friends, they also happen to live close to each other.

"Obviously we are good friends. He's my neighbor. He lives right across the street," Hossa said. "But this coming up two weeks, that has to go on the side and we just have to play the roles. I’m going to play my game, he's going to play his game. I'm sure right after we'll be friends again."

And Hossa has the perfect plan to keep things light between himself and Chara as they battle for the Stanley Cup.

"I try to joke with him because he like to be serious all the time on the ice," Hossa said laughing. "I know he doesn't like to talk on the ice. I try to throw some funny stories on the faceoff, make him laugh a little bit."