The 42-year-old Zdeno Chara may not be the same player he was ten or even five years ago, but he is still an integral part of the Boston Bruins’ success this season and postseason. When the veteran defenseman was forced to sit out Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, there was some panic from the fan base and likely a little within the organization as well. However, Chara’s teammates buckled down and ended the series in convincing fashion and in doing so bought their captain another eleven days of rest before the Stanley Cup Final. While many assumed that would be enough to get him back on the ice, there was no timeline for his return from an undisclosed injury.
That is until today, when Bruins provided some clarity on Chara’s status. According to NHL.com’s Eric Russo, Chara was back as a full participant in practice today, after only skating and working out over the weekend. Following the full 45-minute session, Chara was feeling good:
It was nice to be out there again, skated [on Sunday] then skated with the team. It was a good practice, good pace. I’m taking it one day at a time. [Tuesday’s] an off day, but get back at it on Wednesday… I’m not gonna lie, watching games is not fun. You want to play them and you want to be involved. For sure it was something that [I] was feeling that kind of anxiousness to play. But guys did a great job, won the game, so that’s great.
Chara is eager to get back in action and, given his apparent health with a week still to go before puck drop on Game One, he is well on his way to doing just that. As the respected veteran said, it is “one day at a time” right now, but Chara is certainly on track to be ready for the Stanley Cup Final. As the Bruins wait to see who they’ll be playing, they know that Chara is an important asset regardless. The future Hall of Famer remains one of the more dominating defensive presence’s in the game of hockey and hopes to put his ability and experience to work in pursuit of a second Stanley Cup title.