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 heíll take Senators teammate Erik Karlsson as his top selection in Thursdayís all-star draft at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, Bostonís 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.

ďI know youíre trying to get one name out of me, but I canít give it to you,Ē Chara said with a laugh. ďI havenít decided yet. I have some ideas, but I really donít know if itís going to be a forward, a defenceman or a goaltender.Ē

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

ďItís a huge honour. Itís something that Iím very proud of and I really respect being chosen, especially in Ottawa. Iím really looking forward to it,Ē 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 wasnít 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.

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

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

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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