Our worst fears have been confirmed.
First reported by noted hockey insider Christian Fauria of WEEI, Zdeno Chara has suffered a broken jaw. The news was later reported by Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic St. Louis. The injury was suffered in the second period of Game 4, when Brayden Schenn’s snap shot ricocheted off of Chara’s stick and caught him in the face. Chara was bloodied from the play and did not log another shift in the contest. He did, however, join his teammates on the bench in the third period, sporting a full cage.
Chara’s presence on the bench further confirms his outstanding leadership qualities. He was seen late in the period during the television timeout going around to each one of his teammates to try and motivate them to equalize the score. Even when in a tremendous amount of pain, Chara is doing his best for the team and his teammates.
Chara will be presumably out of the lineup for Game 5, but Chara’s toughness and will to play might collide with the doctor’s orders. Brad Marchand spoke of Chara’s willpower, per WBZ’s Joe Giza:
“He’s an absolute warrior...I think if it wasn’t for a doctor he would have played that game, you know he’s that kind of guy that you’re going to have to kill him to keep him off.”
With Chara potentially sidelined, Urho Vaakanainen or Steven Kampfer could slot into the lineup. The Bruins also could experiment with dressing seven defensemen, as Chara logs large chunks of minutes and is a stalwart on the penalty kill. Should Chara be sidelined, Bruce Cassidy will have to be creative with the lineup, as the defense is already without Matt Grzelcyk (concussion).
Puckdrop for Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday night at 8 pm at TD Garden.