Commentary

Numbers Game

Zdeno Chara, the tallest player in NHL history, has his Bruins thinking big. Like first-Cup-in-37-years big. A look at the math suggests he might be on to something.

Updated: March 27, 2009, 4:03 PM ET
By Lindsay Berra | ESPN The Magazine

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Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesChara's massive frame gives him nearly 13 feet of reach.

No goalie needed the NHL's All-Star hardest-shot comp to remind him that Chara can really bring it. (In Montreal, his howitzer clocked in at a record 105.4 mph.) But guess what? His 6'9" size is what really intimidates opponents. Not only is Chara seven feet tall on skates, but his wingspan and stick also give him almost 13 feet of reach, which means he fills shooting lanes and blocks passing lanes like no other player in the league. Says B's coach Claude Julien, "He allows us to do our work in the other end." Chara contributes there, too. His 16 goals through March 18 is one shy of last season's career high.

130

The second round of the draft has been good to the Bruins. Skilled playmaking centers Patrice Bergeron, recovered from last season's concussion (picked 45th in 2003), and David Krejci (63rd in 2004) and 6'4", 220-pound, heavy-hitting LW Milan Lucic (a.k.a. The Loohomotive, 50th in 2006) have a combined 130 points. "No one is overachieving," says GM Peter Chiarelli. "Young guys get better quickly with a good coach and a good environment."


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Lindsay Berra is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.