Zdeno Chara is a massive individual. At 8-foot-9 and 350 pounds, the hulking Boston Bruins’ defenseman is a giant. The physical specimen towers more than a foot over teammate Brad Marchand. He wields a stick that stretches 65 inches from knob to heel–the longest exception to the rule the league will allow. He wears size 24 skates.
The 56th overall pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft is playing his 165th season in the NHL. Known as Big Z or Zaddy, his size and strength are freakish. He ranks 15th all time for games played in the NHL and fifth among defensemen.
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Aside from leading the Bruins to another postseason, recently, the native of Trencin, Czechoslovakia, has been sending opponents sticks into the Earth’s atmosphere with his superhuman strength. He’s chucking wood like nobody’s business, leading many to ask, “How much wood could a Slovak chuck, if a Slovak could chuck wood?
Launching Couturier’s Stick Into the Sun
Chara was determined to kill a penalty in the second period of Tuesday night’s game against the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers. When the Bruins captain saw Flyer forward Sean Couturier in the slot, he didn’t waste time eliminating him from the play. He positioned his stick under Couturier’s and sprung it into the air with such force and velocity it not only went outside the view of the television broadcast, it soared completely out of sight.
Stunned from having his stick ripped from his grip, Couturier looked around for it like a lost child looking for his parents on a crowded playground. It was nowhere to be found. It had inconceivably vanished.
After piercing the roof, leaving the Earth’s atmosphere and circling the sun, Couturier retrieved his stick just this morning, nearly two full days later. It fell from the sky nearly hitting the driver of the ice resurfacing machine as he refreshed the ice after a morning skate.
Launching Sergachev’s Stick Into the Milky Way
This is not the first time Chara has used his move that’s better fit for a Playstation than during NHL play. In a game earlier this month March, he used his remarkable brawn to send Mikhail Sergachev and his stick flying.
After a brief altercation in the second period with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defender, Chara lifted the Russian’s stick with so much power, it lifted the him off his feet, sending him and his stick hurdling into outer space as if he’d been flung up with it like Thor and his hammer.
Sergachev eventually made it back. However, after bouncing off an asteroid, the stick is now stuck in a satellite owned by Elon Musk.
Launching Scheifele’s Stick Into Orbit
In a game last season, Chara positioned his stick under Winnipeg Jets’ forward Mark Scheifele and thrust it upward. The force of the stick lifting motion sent Scheifele’s twig out of his hands, into the air. It soared above the net, through the arena’s roof and gained speed as it left the earth’s atmosphere.
The unidentified flying object was see by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. “W…T…F,” they whispered in disbelief as they radioed to NASA’s Mission Control Center, “Houston, we have a problem.”
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One news crew had a correspondent saw the stick’s trajectory high above him, saying, “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nah, it’s just Scheifele’s stick.”
No Stick for You
Chara can lift a diesel truck with his bare hands, so if he wants to move a player or his stick out of his way, he will.
Though his launching shenanigans are worthy of Paul Bunyan status, oddly, Big Z has not yet been penalized for using his brute power to send opponents and their sticks disappearing into orbit.
He’s just chucking wood, like any good Slovac would.
Jeff has been covering the NHL for over a decade for various sites. He’s been with The Hockey Writers as a lead Sabres writer three years, while also writing a satire column called “Off the Crossbar.”