Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask felt it was unfortunate there were no fans present Wednesday to pay tribute to Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara, who returned to Boston as an opposing player for the first time since 2006.
"That's half the tribute is when the fans are there and they're cheering. I believe he would've gotten a pretty long standing ovation," Rask said postgame, courtesy of NBC Sports Boston. "We lived those moments together. It's odd to see him on the other side, but I think, personally, for me, it wasn't as emotional as it would've been if there were fans in the stands."
The Bruins honored their ex-captain with a touching video tribute during a TV timeout.
Players tapped their sticks and Chara gave some waves of appreciation, but the thunderous applause from a packed house at TD Garden was absent.
The Capitals managed to grind out a 2-1 win in a shootout. Washington head coach Peter Laviolette, who notched his 650th career NHL victory in the process, believes Chara's return helped motivate his teammates.
"Guys played hard tonight," Laviolette said, according to The Washington Post's Samantha Pell. "It was an important game coming back to Boston for Z, important for our team just where we sit, but important for that reason as well. Guys knew that. I'm really happy for him that we were able to come in and help (Chara) out and get a win."
Chara, 43, served as Boston's captain for all of his 14 seasons with the club. He helped lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup win in 2011 and the finals in 2013 and 2019.