Chara devastated over lost friends in plane crash


Chara devastated over lost friends in plane crash

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The anguish on Zdeno Charas face was plain as he sat down at his locker stall following captains practice with his Bruins teammates on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena.

Chara lost a lifelong friend in NHL scorer and fellow Slovakian Pavol Demitra, who was among the 43 that perished in the horrific Lokomotiv plane crash near Minsk on Wednesday morning. The former Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks forward attended Charas Stanley Cup celebration this summer in his hometown of Trencin with his family. The two NHL stars were also neighbors in Slovakia during the summer offseason, and remained very close friends in the hockey world.

I knew Demitra very well growing up with him and being my neighbor. Pavol was always so easy going, said Chara. He was always friendly with anybody and everybody. He never had a conflict with anybody. People dont know how dedicated he was."

Chara and Demitra had long been teammates on the Slovakian national teams while growing up as European hockey superstars, and they both shared agent Matt Keator during their professional playing careers.

"Its a huge shock still, said Chara. Its horrible. Its tragic and shook up the whole world . . . the hockey world especially. We all feel bad about the player's families. Its something that is just hard to swallow, you know?

Chara and Demitra grew up about 20 minutes away from each other in the neighboring towns of Trencin and Dubnika, and he still hadnt entirely wrapped his brain around the awful plane crash that decimated an entire KHL team roster.

The stunning tragedy had jolted Chara like one of the crushing body checks hes used to doling out to other players, and coping with it was all he could do.

Former Bruins, Whalers, Red Wings and Coyotes defenseman Brad McCrimmon was also lost in the crash as the head coach for Lokomotiv. He was one of Charas defensemen coaches as the 6-foot-9 blueliner developed in the New York Islanders organization.

Chara played against more than a half-dozen of the KHL players lost in the crash, and Chara spoke about both Demitra and McCrimmon with his head downcast. The fresh wound of loss was understandably still fresh and stinging the Bs captain, and he spoke cathartically about losing several hockey figures near and dear to him so tragically.

There were other guys I've played with . . . or a coach I had in Brad McCrimmon in the Islanders system, said Chara. When you get to know other players and coaches as people, its devastating.

The Bs defenseman said that Demitra had made the decision to play in the KHL for Lokomotiv starting last season so his school-age children could learn in Slovakian schools. That family-based decision was one of the things about Demitra that Chara hoped will live on as his legacy.

He was very favored and a popular guy with all of the other guys. We all know that he was an extremely talented player, said Chara. What people probably dont know is how dedicated a dad he was. He was always spending time with his kids and his family. That speaks for itself too. He had offers from the NHL, but he chose to go back to Slovakia for his kids and wife when it was time for them to go to their schools in Slovakia. Its a very sad time right now.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself


Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching the Montreal Canadiens crash and burn in the Atlantic Division.  

*Max Pacioretty is certainly falling on his sword up in Montreal calling himself “the worst one on the ice” as the Habs really struggle to get going this season.

*Brad Marchand was on the Twitter machine after Thursday night’s win and having some fun with what his video game controller probably looks like when he plays hockey.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the Erik Gudbranson boarding hit on Frank Vatrano from last night that looks like it’s going to get the Vancouver D-man suspended.

*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still adjusting to the changes that are taking place with the Arizona Coyotes as they struggle in the desert.

*The Maple Leafs are looking and acting like contenders early on up in Toronto, and that would be a very good thing for the NHL.

*For something completely different: The Backstreet Boys are going country? Now I’ve definitely seen it all.


Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

BRIGHTON, Mass – Another serious injury has hit the Bruins in the first few weeks of the season.

Adam McQuaid’s right leg is broken, he'll have surgery Monday and he’ll miss some significant time after he blocked a shot that knocked him out of the Thursday night victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The rugged, stay-at-home defenseman took multiple pucks of in successive games off his leg in the past two games against the Golden Knights and the Canucks.


Bruins GM Don Sweeney, in a Bruins statement released after practice Friday, said McQuaid sustained a broken right fibula and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday at Mass. General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.

It’s a tough blow for McQuaid, 31, after he was able to play 77 games last season before missing the playoffs with an injury and has consistently battled injuries in his career while playing a hard-nosed, fearless brand of hockey.

“Adam [McQuaid] is seeing the doctors as we speak, so there will be an announcement about him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier Friday at practice. “With Bergie [Patrice Bergeron] it’s a maintenance day where we felt it would be better after 20 minutes of ice to let it rest, and the same with [David] Krejci. Miller is a maintenance day as well. He got whacked, but he should be fine as well. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, but we expect all of the [maintenance players] to play.”

Bergeron, David Krejci and Kevan Miller were all missing from practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was maintenance days for all as they’re expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuukka Rask is out indefinitely while in the concussion protocol after his practice collision earlier this week, but the good news is that Bruins goaltender was up and around at the practice facility on Friday rather than at home convalescing in a dark room.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Black and Gold with a few bodies missing from practice: