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

Alberta predicting 400 to 6,600 deaths from COVID-19 in months to come

Alberta predicting 400 to 6,600 deaths from COVID-19 in months to come

Wetaskiwin man coughs on police, says he has COVID-19

Alberta RCMP members, including two officers in Wetaskiwin, have reported being coughed… Continue reading

25 new cases Tuesday in Alberta, provincial total at 1,373

Alberta confirmed 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the… Continue reading

Cold spring weather makes self-isolation measures easier to follow for central Albertans

March was the 13th coldest on record, says Environment Canada

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

We’re all in this together, says the City of Red Deer

‘While most city facilities are closed, we want you to know that we are still here’

Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine has died at 73

Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine has died at 73

Dr. Donald: why the U.S. president keeps touting an unproven COVID-19 treatment

Dr. Donald: why the U.S. president keeps touting an unproven COVID-19 treatment

Group of First Nations want Supreme Court to hear appeal on Trans Mountain

Group of First Nations want Supreme Court to hear appeal on Trans Mountain

Trudeau says details coming soon on help for households to access credit

Trudeau says details coming soon on help for households to access credit

Wickenheiser plea for PPE, with Ryan Reynolds assist, scores big donations

Wickenheiser plea for PPE, with Ryan Reynolds assist, scores big donations

Most Read