Update: ESPN is now reporting that Chara suffered a broken jaw on Monday night. This could be a major blow for the Bruins, as coach Bruce Cassidy said that if Chara cannot go on Thursday, he will be going with eleven forwards and seven defensemen.
Zdeno Chara only played 8:23 in last night’s 4-2 St. Louis Blues victory, He recorded an assist on Charlie Coyle’s first period goal and had two shots on goal before he skated off in obvious distress after a puck deflected up, off his own stick, and into his face.
Chara missed the rest of the second period and returned to the bench in the third, giving Bruins fans some hope that he would finish out the game. He did not.
After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said that Chara returned not to play, but to support his teammates. He had to get stitched up, will probably require dental work, and his status is unclear for game five.
When asked why Chara returned to the bench if he couldn’t play, Cassidy replied: “He wanted to come out on the bench and be with his teammates, that’s why he was out there. I don’t know his status for Game 5. Obviously when he gets back home he’ll have to be re-evaluated, see how he feels tomorrow for starters.”
A puck to the face kept Blues defenseman Vince Dunn out of the playoffs for nearly an entire round’s worth of games. Dunn returned just last night. A loss of Chara, who averages nearly 20 minutes a game for the Bruins, would be huge. Matt Grzelcyk, concussed on a hit from Oskar Sundqvist, is still out and despite Cassidy being coy about his status for game five, will probably remain out for Thursday. John Moore slotted into Grzelcyk’s spot, and Steve Kampfer will probably go in Chara’s spot if he can, but today Cassidy seemed to put the kibosh on something that simple happening, perhaps choosing to go with a rotation of rookies Urho Vaakanainen or Jakub Zboril.
Bruce Cassidy said that if the Bruins don’t have Chara and Grzelcyk, it’s possible they’ll play seven defensemen in Game 5.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 4, 2019
Welcome to the big show, kids. No pressure.