Chara has a big secret

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

OTTAWA - The Big Z is keeping his No. 1 pick a big secret.

While Daniel Alfredsson has told anybody who will listen that hell take Senators teammate Erik Karlsson as his top selection in Thursdays all-star draft at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, Bostons Zdeno Chara was tight-lipped Wednesday afternoon.

Making his way to Ottawa for the all-star weekend, the former Senators defenceman told QMI Agency he spoke with his assistant captain, Joffrey Lupul of the Maple Leafs, Wednesday and the two plan to meet to discuss a strategy Thursday morning.

I know youre trying to get one name out of me, but I cant give it to you, Chara said with a laugh. I havent decided yet. I have some ideas, but I really dont know if its going to be a forward, a defenceman or a goaltender.

The No. 1 pick will be determined by a coin flip and Chara said he is happy to be a captain.

Its a huge honour. Its something that Im very proud of and I really respect being chosen, especially in Ottawa. Im really looking forward to it, said Chara.

He is looking forward to returning to a city that changed his career. Acquired in the deal that sent Alexei Yashin to the Islanders in June, 2000, the 6-foot-9 Chara helped turn the franchise into a contender.

Now, the 34-year-old Chara wasnt trying to open up old wounds, but he clarified he left the Senators because GM John Muckler chose to keep Wade Redden when both were free agents in July, 2006.

I had a great time in Ottawa. I always played hard there and I always did my best, said Chara, who captained Boston to a Stanley Cup last spring. I really improved as a player when I came from Long Island and I was able to develop my game. The fans were really supportive.

Its too bad we didnt have better success when I was there. Thats just hockey. Its very unfortunate. At that time, between myself and (Redden), they made a choice and I had to move on. Thats something that maybe people still dont know, but thats the truth. Thats the way it goes. I found my new place in Boston and moved on as well.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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