BRIGHTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara took part in a long, spirited practice with the Bruins on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, and certainly looked like a guy who was going to be ready when the Stanley Cup Final gets going.
Chara missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final with an undisclosed injury, but skated ahead of Sunday’s practice before joining his teammates for a lengthy skate on Monday designed to keep the Bruins in shape a week ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. There didn’t appear to be much of anything wrong with Chara as he skated with the rest of his B’s teammates, but there was also nothing as of yet confirming that he’ll be in the lineup against either the San Jose Sharks or the St. Louis Blues next Monday night.
“[Chara] was good,” confirmed Bruce Cassidy. “He went through practice without any issues, so I think tomorrow will be a better day to see if he gets any stiffness or soreness. He’ll get some rest [on Tuesday] and get ready to go for Wednesday.”
Chara has been a workhorse during the playoffs with 22:31 of ice time per game along with a goal and three points in 16 games with a plus-11 rating, and it was a bit of a surprise to see the 6-foot-9 captain suddenly unavailable for the clinching game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. Chara has taken several blocked shots to the foot area during the postseason and he’s certainly looked every bit his 42 years of age at other points in the playoffs.
“I’m taking it one day at a time. [Tuesday] is an off day and then we’ll get back on it Wednesday,” said Chara. “It was hard. I’m not going to lie. You’re watching [a playoff game] and you want to be playing. You want to be involved. For sure it was something where I was feeling that anxiousness to play, but guys did a great job winning the game.”
But he’s also undoubtedly still an asset as a shutdown D-man and a penalty killer who will benefit greatly from the 10 days off in between playoff games headed into next week’s Stanley Cup Final. Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s practice with a week ahead of Boston’s date with the Stanley Cup:
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