NHL

July 11, 2019, 5:01 pm

Chara now oldest active NHL player; Bruins defenseman replaces Cullen

Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins is now the oldest progressive participant in the NHL aft Matt Cullen proclaimed his status Wednesday.

Chara now oldest active NHL player; Bruins defenseman replaces Cullen
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Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins is now the oldest progressive participant in the NHL aft Matt Cullen proclaimed his status Wednesday.

Cullen, a guardant who played 21 seasons in the NHL, is 136 days older than the defenseman, who inverted 42 on March 18.

The next oldest progressive participant is Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller, who turns 39 on July 17.

Joe Thornton, a guardant who inverted 40 on July 2, is older than Miller but is an unautographed free agent, as are guardants Patrick Marleau (40 on Sept. 15) and Chris Kunitz (40 on Sept. 26).

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was 40 years old when he inactive June 26.

Cullen had been the oldest progressive participant since Jan. 29, 2018, when Calgary Flames guardant Jaromir Jagr was allotted to Kladno in the Czech Republic. Jagr was 17 days from his 46th anniversary at the time; Cullen inverted 41 about 3 months anterior (Nov. 2).

Chara autographed a one-year written agreement March 23 to tax return for a 22nd NHL season. He is convalescent from a fractured jaw continuous in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues but said aft that ordering he expected to be ready for training camp. He also had an MRI for a lower-body injury continuous during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and missed 16 games during the season with a tear in his left MCL.

"I definitely was able to push my body to different limits, which I kind of heard they exist but was never in that position that I had to push it," Chara said June 14. "Definitely this postseason ... it was one of those that kept pushing and pushing it and find another level of limits that you can go through and beyond."

Selected by the New York Islanders in the third round (No. 56) of the 1996 NHL Draft, Chara has 642 points (200 goals, 442 assists) in 1,485 NHL games with the Bruins, Islanders and Ottawa Senators.

He won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL in 2008-09, has been selected to play in five NHL All-Star Games, helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2011, and is the longest-tenured captain in the NHL (since 2006-07).

"I enjoy my role," Chara said aft signing his latest written agreement . "I really take a lot of pride in being a captain and being one of those mentor guys that we try to help younger guys to lead them in the right direction and make sure they keep getting better and better.

"It's just like I said, a lot of fun to be part of. And I think that with the future, this team is in the right place so I for sure want to be part of it and still contribute with the experiences that I have now."

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