BRIGHTON, Mass – Zdeno Chara made it through both sessions of the opening on-ice practice at Bruins training camp with his surgically repaired elbow feeling good, and that further heightened the Bruins captain’s optimism that he’ll be ready for opening night.
The 42-year-old captain is coming off summer elbow surgery and the natural healing process for his fractured jaw, and both injuries kept Chara from his legendary offseason workout routine until the middle of July. It all means that the 6-foot-9 defenseman probably feels a little behind his normal standard for the start of NHL training camp, but Chara said he’s not feeling any limitations now that the B’s have hit the ice.
“It was good. We had a good two sessions. I thought the energy was really good,” said Chara. “Basically I’m a part of all the drills. I don’t think I’ll be playing in the first few [exhibition] games. That’s probably something we have to talk about what’s going to be after. But with the less [preseason] games than in recent years, I think most of the guys that played all the way to the Final won’t see many of those games. But it’s something the coaching staff and management has to decide.
“I believe [I’ll be ready for the regular season]. Right now it feels pretty good. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the next day, and my goal is to keep getting stronger and feeling better.”
It's true that Chara will probably sit out the first few exhibition games so as not to rush himself back into game action. But that will probably be true of many of the B’s veteran core group that played until the middle of June this past season and packed 24 playoff games on to the end of a long, strenuous regular season schedule.
At one point just a week ago it seemed that there might be some question as to Chara’s readiness for the regular season, and that was a concern on top of two unsigned RFA defenseman (Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo) and two other D-men (John Moore, Kevan Miller) that aren’t going to be ready to start the regular season due to injuries.
But at least Chara will be there to start the year, and that leaves one big question already answered ahead of Boston’s season opener. Here are the forward combos and defense pairs from the first day of training camp with the Bruins halved into two groups:
Rask, Keyser, Vladar
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