With Chara hurt, Bruins need help on D in Stanley Cup Game 5

BEDFORD, Mass. — The Boston Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final despite a run of regular-season injuries that prevented anyone on the roster from playing all 82 games.

Now comes the real test.

The Bruins are preparing for Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues without captain and No. 1 defenceman Zdeno Chara, who did not return after he was hit in the face by a deflected puck on Monday night. The St. Louis Blues won 4-2 to even the series at two games apiece.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy offered no update on Chara’s condition after arriving in Boston on Tuesday except to say the 2009 Norris Trophy winner was on his way to see a doctor. The fact that Chara returned for the third period wearing a full face shield — and never got back on the ice — suggests it is more than the lost tooth or busted lip that usually only keeps a hockey player out long enough to get it stitched up.

“Right now, I’ve got nothing,” Cassidy said. “But we don’t play for two more days.”

Although the 42-year-old Chara is the team’s elder statesman and emotional leader, Cassidy said he is less worried about Chara’s leadership than his 6-foot-9 presence on the ice.

“Taking great players out of the lineup, that’s the part that hurts the most,” Cassidy said. “I’m not worried about our mentality.”

The Bruins have made it through the playoffs without defenceman Kevan Miller and also lost Matt Grzelcyk when he took an elbow to the head in Game 2 and needed to be helped off the ice. John Moore filled in for him in the third game, which the Bruins won.

But they were down to five men on the blue line again Monday night when Chara took a deflected shot from Brayden Schenn off the right side of the face. He crumpled to the ice, face-first, and then skated off, with blood dripping from his mouth. He returned at the start of the third wearing the shield but never went back in the game.

“Very uncomfortable, was advised not to return to play,” Cassidy said after the game. “Had some stitches, probably some dental work in the near future. He wanted to come out on the bench and be with his teammates.”

His teammates knew how difficult it was for him to just sit there.

“He’s our leader, and the biggest part of our leadership,” forward David Pastrnak said. “Anything that comes out of his mouth … everybody is listening to him.”

Blues coach Craig Berube said he had a broken jaw when he was a player and was out six weeks. But if Chara has the same injury and misses the rest of the series, it won’t change the Blues’ approach.

“Nothing from our standpoint,” he said.

A six-time All-Star and the perennial team leader in minutes played, Chara played a career-low (not counting lockout years) 62 games this season because of an unspecified injury that kept him out six weeks in November and December.

Although it’s too early to rule him out for Game 5 — or perhaps longer — Cassidy said the most likely replacements would be Steven Kampfer or rookies Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon, and Jakub Zboril. Only Kampfer, with two games of playoff experience, has appeared in a post-season game.

“If both guys (Chara and Grzelcyk) are out, it’s not an easy decision,” Cassidy said. “It’s not one I want to make, but you have to do what you have to do.”

But don’t rule them out just yet.

“Both of those players, they’re warriors,” defenceman Charlie McAvoy said. “They’ll do whatever it takes to play.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

Four people charged in drug trafficking investigation

Rocky Mountain House RCMP execute search warrant

Drive-by shooting in Wetaskiwin on Sunday

Two people injured in shooting

Trudeau caught in middle of clash over energy, environment, Indigenous demands

OTTAWA — The competing demands of natural resource development, environmental protection and… Continue reading

A rare miss for Walmart to end the year

NEW YORK — Walmart reported disappointing fourth-quarter profits and sales after a… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

New highway to B.C. proposed

The Howse Pass shortcut to British Columbia is worth taking another look… Continue reading

Red Deer flag raising to mark 100 years of Kin Clubs

Mayor Tara Veer and the Kin Clubs of Red Deer will gather… Continue reading

Red Deerians will walk Saturday in bid to end poverty

Red Deerians will brave the chill to raise funds for The Mustard… Continue reading

Reader’s opinion: Here’s how Premier Kenney can build a stronger Alberta

Apparently, the UPC government has decided that most seniors should pay more… Continue reading

Rail blockades present PM with a complex problem

Justin Trudeau has been hit by three large-scale communications crises since the… Continue reading

Popping pills can be just the start

I’m sitting at my desk looking at a flyer. You can save… Continue reading

United We Roll convoy cruises through central Alberta

It has been one year since the United We Roll convoy made its way from Alberta to Ottawa

Most Read