CHARA WILLING TO TAKE ONE FOR TEAM
ZDENO CHARA is very familiar with Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour.
The back of his legs are, anyway.
"Obviously he's a guy who doesn't like a lot of traffic," Chara said yesterday. "He's one of the more active goalies with his stick, but I can't worry about that."
At 6-foot-9, the Ottawa Senators' Chara is an imposing figure especially when he is planted in front of the opposing net during power plays.
Belfour's penchant for whacking opposing players aside, Chara said caution must be shown in order to avoid goaltender-interference penalties.
In 2002, an injured Chara was forced to watch the final two games of the Leafs-Sens playoff series. By no coincidence, the Leafs defeated the Chara-less Sens in both games en route to eliminating Ottawa in seven.
"That was very hard to watch," Chara said. "I'm just really happy that I'm able to play this time around and help the team."
While many observers feel Chara should be a front-runner for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman, he does not want to think that far ahead.
"This is a team game. It's not about personal stats or exploits," Chara said.
Senators coach Jacques Martin yesterday claimed his memories of the previous three Toronto-Ottawa playoff series -- all won by the Leafs -- have faded.
"I don't like to admit it but I'm 50 now and am experiencing a little bit of Alzheimer's," he said, tongue in cheek.
WORLD CUP BOUND?
Martin believes defenceman Wade Redden has a legitimate chance at making the Canadian World Cup team. "He was one of our last cuts at the (2002) Olympics, and I feel he probably has a good shot this time around," Martin, an assistant coach with Team Canada, said.
Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun
, Last Updated: 12:10 PM ET