Boston Bruins Cannot Afford to Lose Zdeno Chara

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ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins is attended to after being injured during the game against the St. Louis Blues in Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Not even four minutes into the middle period of Game 4, Zdeno Chara was down on the ice trying to keep his blood from spilling. The Boston Bruins captain had just blocked a shot from Brayden Schenn that took a ride up his stick and connected with his face.

After Chara dropped, play was stopped and he skated off the ice with the help of the Bruins head athletic trainer Don DelNegro, clutching a towel to the side of his face.

Zdeno Chara Returns for the Third

Chara was back on the bench in the third period, but was wearing a full-shield fishbowl. Despite the added protection, Chara did not play in Game 4 again and just like Game 2, the St. Louis Blues found success when the Bruins were without six healthy defencemen.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said in his post-game interview that Chara was advised not to play for the rest of the game. But while he did not return to the ice to play in the game, he tried to rally his team into overcoming a one-goal deficit in between stoppage times.

Looking to Game 5

The Bruins will need to stop this newfound momentum from the Blues and take Game 5. However, this feat is far more difficult without their 6-foot-9 captain on the ice. Although it is common for hockey players to return almost immediately after suffering an injury, Zdeno Chara not returning to the ice in Game 4 may mean that he is out longer than expected.

Cassidy also said in his post-game interview that he does not know Chara’s status for the fifth game of the series, which could indicate that he will need at least one game to tend to the injury when the Bruins get back to Boston.

Chara’s Presence in the Playoffs

Chara has a goal and four assists in this year’s playoffs and half of those assists have come in the Stanley Cup Final. But Chara does far more for the team than what shows up on the score sheet. While his presence on the bench was not enough to defeat the Blues on Monday, he is still a vocal leader that players on the team respect.

Marcus Johansson said in an interview after the game that Chara is a leader on and off this ice and goes beyond what other captains might do.

Coming back to sit on the bench without being able to play may seem insignificant, but with so much on the line, Chara still wanting to be a presence shows that an injury to his face won’t alter his role on the team.

What’s Next for Boston

The series comes back to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday, where the Bruins will have their home crowd behind them as they try to take back the advantage in this series that has shown anything can happen.

Cassidy said that he will know more about Chara in the next couple days and has been straightforward with media members about the players on his team, so we should know about his status shortly.

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