If you needed any confirmation that Zdeno Chara is a tough customer, it came today when Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic and Christian Fauria of WEEI both reported that the Boston Bruins captain suffered a broken jaw last night. Chara skated off under his own power after taking a puck to the mouth and returned to the bench wearing a full face shield in order to be with his teammates for the third period. He didn’t play for the rest of the game, and his series now may be in jeopardy.
The Bruins have not officially confirmed the diagnosis—and likely won’t while the playoffs are still ongoing—but losing Chara would be a huge blow to the team. Even though the 42-year old defenseman isn’t quite as mobile as he once was, he’s still an effective player for the Bruins and had been averaging more than 22 minutes a night. He leads the entire playoffs with a +12 rating, and is the Bruins’ primary penalty killing defenseman.
Still, all is not lost for the Bruins. 22-year old Brandon Carlo may be playing the best hockey of his young career and can potentially suck up many of those short-handed minutes, while Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug remain top puck-moving options for Boston. Unfortunately Matt Grzelcyk is also out due to the concussion he suffered in game two, though his status for the next game has also not been confirmed at this point. That means the team might have to turn to players like Steven Kampfer or 20-year old Urho Vaakanainen to get through the next few games.
Game five goes Thursday night in Boston.