'He's going to get booed'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:05 PM ET

Zdeno Chara will know tonight that he's not a fan favourite in Ottawa anymore.

The former Senators defenceman will make his first appearance at Scotiabank Place since he signed a five-year, $37.5-million deal with the Boston Bruins on July 1.

"He's going to get booed. We all know that," said Boston GM Peter Chiarelli, an Ottawa native and former Senators executive, before the Bruins' flight here yesterday. "That's the way people are. The people of Ottawa don't like the fact that he left.

"I'm not going to sit here and say that I agree with it because I don't think it should happen. That's just the way it is. Does that bother a player? It's never nice to get booed, especially when its in a place where you tried to help make that team successful."

Price too high

The Senators lost Chara because they couldn't afford to keep him and fellow blueliner Wade Redden, who were both eligible for unrestricted free agency. GM John Muckler contends Chara never gave the club an asking price, but the 6-foot-9 blueliner argues the Senators should have known what he was worth. He's gone, but he hasn't been forgotten.

"I don't think (he'll get jeered) a lot. There will be some people who will try to get under his skin," said Redden, who signed a two-year, $13-million deal. "That's kind of the norm. People wanted him to stay. That's why they're probably upset. It will be a mixed reaction.

"You can't blame him. He 's got to do what's best for him. That goes for everyone in this room when they get put in that position. He weighed everything out and did his homework. That's how it goes... It's unfortunate, but that's the way the business goes."

Chara, who told the Boston public relations staff he didn't want to speak with any Ottawa media until after today's morning skate, is downplaying his return.

"Every player in his career probably gets traded or re-signs somewhere else," said Chara before leaving Boston. "You have memories, but you also know that you're playing for a new team. It's business.

'A lot of friends'

"I made a lot of friends (in Ottawa). I keep in touch with them. Coming back, you're just playing again and looking forward to playing in the game. I've thought about it. It's my former team. Now, it's a matter of both teams wanting to win the game."

Centre Mike Fisher didn't even let reporters ask the Chara question before posing it himself.

"Boos or cheers? What do you think? I want to ask you guys before you ask me," said Fisher. "I can imagine he'll be fired up. He was a big part of our team for a long time and it will be a little different. He'll be wanting to have a great game in front of his old fans."


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