If there were any question about Zdeno Chara's toughness, this should settle it: The towering defenseman considered not having anesthesia when undergoing recent shoulder surgery to repair a torn left labrum. "True story," said his agent, Matt Keator. "That's Z, right there. He cares about his body, like no one I know, and he doesn't want to do anything that could compromise it. He asked if he could go without it, and he would have done it, but the doctors convinced him it was better to have it. He told me he would have done it. He said, 'I want to see what's going on.' " Chara, added Keator, still plans a June trip to Africa for the Right to Play charity group, and still plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Reference materialSome interesting numbers to ponder, courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com:
Calgary's Dion Phaneuf, a Norris Trophy finalist, has connected for at least 15 goals in three seasons, all before his 22d birthday. Only five other defensemen have done so: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey, and Phil Housley. All but Housley are in the Hall of Fame.
For the first time in NHL history, four goalies reached the 75-game threshold in one season: Evgeny Nabokov (San Jose), Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary), Marty Brodeur (New Jersey), and Ryan Miller (Buffalo).
Jeremy Roenick, who is likely to sign on for another year in San Jose, scored only 14 goals this season, but 10 of them were game-winners. That's the best ratio in league history for a guy with 10 GWGs. Previously, the mark was held by Guy Carbonneau, who potted 10 GWGs among his 26 with the 1988-89 Habs.
Summer plansIt's likely that both Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez will be in the Hub when the Bruins hold their development camp in Wilmington (July 8-12), but they will not join the kids in day-to-day action. "We'll have the ice, and I'm sure Manny and Bergy will use it, but be on their own," said Chiarelli, noting that both players will visit Boston a few times this summer. Fernandez is expected to participate in assistant coach Bob Essensa's goalie camp in Wilmington in September.
An inside tipHockey News columnist Mike Brophy clearly has had his fill of Joe Thornton's game in San Jose, which has been pretty much the mirror image of the game that got him dealt out of Boston. Brophy: "A little hint to the coach that replaces [Ron ] Wilson: Somehow convince Thornton that it's in his and his team's best interest that he immediately stop being a perimeter player. It is no longer acceptable to set up on the outside and make saucer passes to his linemates. Go to the freaking net."
Loose pucksMea culpa for identifying Blake Wheeler last week as a defenseman. He's a center/wing, and now, after deciding to leave the University of Minnesota, has a tempting offer from the Coyotes, who made him the No. 5 pick in the 2004 draft. If he opts not to take the offer, he'll become an unrestricted free agent June 8. "I think he's a winger," Coyotes GM Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic, "and in our division, to get that size [6 feet 5 inches, 220 pounds], the guy that powers the net, he's an important guy for us." . . . The Bruins have resigned themselves to being unable to sign Russian defenseman Yuri Alexandrov, whom they picked 37th in the 2006 draft. He will go back into this year's draft and the Bruins, said Chiarelli, will not receive a compensatory pick . . . The Bruins have offers out to Aaron Ward and Glen Metropolit, but it's a good bet that they are only one-year offers. Unless they get at least another year, they'll probably opt to see what's out there in the free agent market . . . Anders Myrvold, who came to Boston with Landon Wilson in the Nov. 22, 1996, deal that had the Bruins send the Avs their first-round draft pick in '98, was optimistic about Norway's chances going into a World Championships quarterfinal against Canada. "We have Viking blood," boasted Myrvold. "You know Viking blood? It doesn't exist in Canada." Final score: Canada, 8-2. Norway had a plucky group, including players who have full-time jobs out of hockey, such as carpenters and electricians, even a garage door installer. "If you need anything, just give us a call," said Myrvold. "You can't call the Canadian team; they can only play hockey."
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com.