BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins will be without their leader for at least the next month, with captain Zdeno Chara going down with a left knee injury last week.
After the initial panic, the Bruins knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in their first full game without their leader on the blueline. Bruins forward Reilly Smith joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning to chat about the absence of Chara, and while the B’s hope to fill the void, the big man will certainly be missed.
“Immediately it was a little tough because he’s such a big part of our team. He’s such a good leader and a good character player that it’s tough not having him in the lineup,” said Smith, who has two goals and two assists for Boston through the season’s first 10 games. “But there is still so much skill on this team that there are guys on the back end who can come and fill the void.”
Even though he’s not on the ice with the team, Smith said it’s all the things Chara does behind the scenes that really unites the team.
“It’s the little things. He’s always bringing guys together and does a good job making everyone feel welcome, feel united. He’s always the first one in the locker room and the last one out, and he’s still doing that even when he’s injured. The team builds around that, for sure.”
Smith says even though fans see a very even-keeled Chara when he’s on the ice, the B’s captain is a pretty emotional guy.
“It’s tough for a hockey player watching your teammates and your team go out there competing and not being a part of it. He does show emotion – he’s not an emotionless guy,” said Smith. “He was having a bit of a laugh when he got into the jawing match with my brother last year, which was pretty funny. At least on my end.”
Smith is talking about his brother, Brendan, who got into a bit of a dust-up with Chara last postseason.
“Z talked to me about it, like ‘Hey, what was your brother thinking? If he really wanted to get into it I might have killed him,’” Smith said of Chara, who stands seven inches taller than his brother. “It’s like getting into a fight with giant — you’re never going to come out on the positive end.”
Away from the ice, the Bruins are always giving back to the community. On Monday, a few players got into the Halloween spirit a little early and paid a visit to Boston Children’s Hospital — dressed as characters from Disney’s “Frozen.”
“It will be pretty funny today. I saw it on Twitter in the afternoon yesterday and I was dying,” said Smith. “Some of those costumes are ridiculous, but I’m sure it puts a smile on some of those kids.”
While there were plenty of smiles, there were also some somewhat scared looks from the kids when they saw Dougie Hamilton and Matt Fraser dressed as the two female characters from the movie.
“Dougie and Matt Fraser, they might have given them a little bit of a scare. But the other ones were pretty funny,” said Smith.
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