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John Tavares tipped his cap to Zdeno Chara on Monday.
Yes, Tavares, the Maple Leafs’ captain, misses playing the game. No, Tavares doesn’t miss tangling with Chara, the 6-foot-9 captain of the Boston Bruins.
“There might be no worse situation (during a game) than being stuck along the boards and being angled off by the big man,” Tavares said. “You have to embrace one of those body checks and you’re just hoping everything stays in place. I’ve blocked a couple of his clappers, which I thought shattered a few bones but luckily escaped. (We’ve had) a lot of good battles over the years, the playoffs last year as well. His longevity and the intensity he plays with, you have to be ready to play.
“My whole plan was to come on (the conference call) and pick Zdeno’s brain on what he has been doing (to stay fit at the age of 43).”
Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings had this to say about Tavares: “It seems like you can never break him. His intensity and his drive, he never gives up. He is definitely the rock of a team that has a lot of skill, He plays the right way and leads in that department for that team.”
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