Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has long been considered one of the NHL’s premier class acts and he proved it again this week by reaching out to an opposing player after a heated incident.
Montreal center Brendan Gallagher told reporters on Tuesday that the 42-year-old Bruins captain reached out to him, and apologized for a vicious cross-check to the Montreal center’ neck in a game against the Habs last week.
Perhaps making it a little more vital that he express his apologies, Chara mocked the Habs forward for snapping his head back and embellishing immediately after the fracas.
The pesky Gallagher further told reporters that he appreciated the gesture from the surefire Hall of Fame defenseman.
Chara was fined $5,000 for the violent cross-check that somehow netted both combatants matching penalties in the Bruins' win over the Canadiens at TD Garden.
Gallagher wasn’t injured during the sequence, and it was caused more by the disparity in height between the two players than it was about injurious intent behind the Bruins defenseman’s actions.
Still, Chara has a long history of showing compassion for players who have been injured after run-ins with the 6-foot-9 defenseman, including a palpable show of guilt when one of Chara’s blistering slapshots snapped then-Rangers captain Ryan Callahan’s leg during the 2010-11 NHL season.
The incident even caused Chara to take fewer of his trademark 100-mph slapshots for a stretch following the injury.
The contact between Chara and Gallagher also further illustrated the thaw between Chara and Canadiens fans who once routinely booed the Bruins captain each time he touched the puck at the Bell Centre. Much of the hate centered on Chara’s collision with Max Pacioretty into one of the Bell Centre stanchions that seriously injured the Montreal forward during the 2010-11 season, and bizarrely spurred Canadiens fans to report Chara’s actions to the police.
That was all clearly water under the bridge when Canadiens fans gave Chara a warm, long ovation at the Bell Centre earlier this season when he was playing in his 1,500th NHL game, a significant milestone for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.