Morning Free Association: Mentoring the Bear Cubs

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On last week’s Puck Soup Podcast, Greg Wyshynski, formerly of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog and now employed by ESPN, alluded to the fact that he had asked Charlie McAvoy about teammate and current defensive partner Zdeno Chara being old enough to be his father. His podcast partner, Dave Lozo, had chided him for this question noting that there was no way that McAvoy would give a satisfying answer.

Sure, McAvoy wouldn’t say anything about the age gap because Chara is his teammate and everyone who plays at the NHL level needs to be acknowledged as colleagues and equal in that they’re all playing on this team right now. In the past Chara has spoken with reporters about younger players, including how he prefers to refer to them:

In the Bruins locker room captained by Zdeno Chara, precise word selection is imperative. Take, for instance, the term “rookie.” Take it and toss it over the boards. For reasons that trace back some 20 years to his junior hockey days in Slovakia, Chara believes the word has no place in the hockey workplace.

“I had a couple of bad experiences,’’ the earnest, 6-foot-9-inch defenseman said of his playing days in Trencin, where, he recalled, rookies often were forced to perform demeaning chores or rituals. “And I said, ‘You know, if I ever am in a position to control that, I would totally change it, because it’s not fair.’ ”

So he has; in the Bruins’ locker room, newcomers are respectfully called “first-year players” or “younger guys” or “newer guys.’’

Calling first year players by anything other than rookie basically places them on par with their teammates, even if those teammates have more experience.

So it comes as no surprise that Zdeno Chara is heavily involved in the mentoring of young defensemen. Last season’s protégé, Brandon Carlo has moved to the second pairing with Torey Krug while this season’s new guy, Charlie McAvoy is enjoying the benefits of playing defense alongside a twenty-year NHL veteran who believes in his mentoring role. Wyshynski’s piece on Chara is just beautiful and will give Bruins fans all sorts of warm fuzzies, maybe even making their hearts grow three sizes after reading it.

grinch

Turns out good players help younger players grow. Zdeno Chara had a mentor, and according to former Islanders teammate Scott Lachance, he had great drive and work ethic:

“Back then, he didn’t speak a ton of English, but he was all ears. Willing to learn. The work ethic was tremendous. He did what he needed to do. And he was the same humble guy that he is now,” said Lachance. “At that time he was real awkward. He wasn’t a finished product. We were all wondering what everyone saw in him, because he was a third-round pick. But it didn’t take long to see it. He was tough. He didn’t back down from anybody. But he also held himself accountable and got ready for games. You knew that he was going to play, but you didn’t know he was going to be the player that he is today.”

In the article Ray Bourque also talked about Brad Park helping him as a younger player. And we all know about the role of Martin Lapointe in mentoring a talented but rather inexperienced Patrice Bergeron back in 2003, even housing him for that first season. Bergy would continue to be educated by Mark Recchi when he came to the Bruins.

“He grabs me to the side, he’s like ‘alright, I think you should talk to the guys today, I think you should have a meeting and step up and tell them … whatever you want, speak from your heart, but I think we need to play better.’ He was really helpful that way as a leader. Like I was a young leader and it was nice to have a guy like that to help me and to teach me when to talk and when not to. I remember that before the game in Columbus … we were going through a tough patch and he said ‘I think it’d be a good time for you and guys will listen or what not.’ He really helped me with that and now I’m better at picking my spots and knowing when it’s time. When you learn from a guy like that, it’s great.

“He was trying to teach. I’ll always owe him a lot for that.”

While it’s great to point out Chara as a hockey father-figure for Carlo and McAvoy, Bruce Cassidy prefers to call this role by another name:

“We like the young guys with Z,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “Z likes to be the big brother. He relishes that role. … He enjoys tutoring the young guys.”

Father figure, really big big brother, or whatever you whatever you want to call it, Zdeno Chara enjoys passing on his knowledge of the game with his younger teammates and that’s a good thing. Now if he could only teach them too do this:

warrior

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the german hammer

About the german hammer

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Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Oh, oh, oh!!! Sis, GeriHatricks jerseys are available!!! $75 from their pro shop down there. Names and numbers extra. LMK.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Sweet! I’ll take one! Let me know where I should send money!

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney

Ahhhh! Awesome!

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Hi all. Busy day today.

Love a bit of Chara! I’m glad management haven’t taken Bruins Twitter advice and pensioned him off or given the C to someone else.
I’ve noticed this year, when he’s tracking back he doesn’t waste energy chasing the puck – just gets himself in the best position to block a passing or shooting lane. Smart.

The first time I saw him in the flesh was at a summer exhibition game in Slovakia a couple of years and we didn’t know he was going to be there! He spent most of the game on the bench chatting to Marian Hossa smile

I’ve managed to get a picture of our old friend Joonas Kemppainen into tomorrow’s paper. He’ll be playing in the KHL match I previewed.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Boss got lunch for the office and he and the office manager got onions on their sandwiches and it’s making my stomach turn.
comment image

The London Bear
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The London Bear

We have a strict no-smelly-food rule if we’re eating at our desks.

That said – what’s wrong with onions?!

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

That said – what’s wrong with onions?!

EVERYTHING!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

#Team Onion!!!!
Gimme all that onion shit! Scallions, spring onions, Bermuda onions, fuckin’ Vidalia onions, shallots, garlic…. all dat shit.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

You are more than welcome to my share, except for the garlic because garlic is awesome.

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Somehow ended up down the rabbit hole of Levar Burton gifs. Oh man is that page ever book marked.

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney

Morning, pals!

  • One of those days. Woke up to angry email from shipping. Unrelated meeting at 9:30. Very behind now.
  • I love the guy who wrote me the angry email, but you know who I love more? My boss, because he said, “That was the second biggest shipping day in the history of the company. I don’t know why he wrote that email, he is pathetic.” Then he high fived me. Boom. Roasted.
  • comment image

  • Talking to cauliflower about our plan for tomorrow. “Mandi, call Jeff and David.” Three of us: “Who’s David?” C: “Uh, call Brett. And see Hay he’s doing.” We talk for another minute or two. C: “OK. So, you’re gonna call Dana.” We talk for a minute and Cauliflower recalsnthe conversation: “OK, so you’re going to call Jeff and Michelle.” WHAT? WHO AM I CALLING AND WHO IS DAVID?
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    The London Bear
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    The London Bear

    The world needs more bosses like yours!

    phonymahoney
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    phonymahoney

    He is my magical little leprechaun.

    Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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    Long-Winded Striped Mofo

    Call everybody!!!!!

    Satan 81's Sister
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    Satan 81's Sister
    Satan 81's Sister
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    Satan 81's Sister

    Backes, Krug, and Marchand make up a Red Jersey No Contact line.

    IntentionallyWidenberg
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    IntentionallyWidenberg

    I don’t want to see Backes until after xmas.
    healing is fundamental.

    phonymahoney
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    phonymahoney

    No, reading is fundamental. Duh.

    Satan81
    Admin
    Satan81
    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    Morning all. The Cubs are in good hands with Chara, Bergy, etc.
    And thank you to phony for retweeting this:
    https://twitter.com/Khudobin_fans/status/932854796733775872
    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m06nv52ci71qbgyrqo1_500.gif

    Long-Winded Striped Mofo
    Member
    Long-Winded Striped Mofo

    Hey Pals!
    No worries Eye Dub, I’m already screwed up!
    Mucho to do. Hoping to put a big job to bed for good today…… then I could send a bill!!!!!
    Big Z is the man! I love guys that are stars, but keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. I’ve been a critic in the past, but Chara has shown that he is still a legit star. He is never going to be fast, but he gets the job done.
    Double tonight!!!
    My winter schedule is filling up! Once December gets here, you can find me on the ice. Last Saturday was a big test and I have deemed myself ready for all levels of hockey. Schedulersd seem to agree and I have some great stuff on my schedule!!!

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    No worries Eye Dub, I’m already screwed up!

    Same here! It’s why we all get along so well!