BOSTON (CBS) — Zdeno Chara has a broken jaw. The Bruins have been tight-lipped about their captain’s injury, but we found out Thursday morning that he can’t really talk.
Despite that, the 42-year-old behemoth may be back out there for Boston against the Blues in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night. He’s listed as a game-time decision after participating in Boston’s morning skate at TD Garden.
Chara may not be able to speak that well at the moment, but his teammates had plenty to say about his potential return. They’re not surprised that he was back out there just a few days after having his jaw broken by a puck to the face, but they couldn’t help but marvel at their captain.
“He was brought up as a tough, hard-working person, very respectful. So it doesn’t surprise me at all to see him — I don’t think it surprises anyone to see him out there,” said forward Brad Marchand. “He wants to win more than anything. He shows that every single night.”
“I’m not surprised at all. That’s just how he is as a guy and his character,” added winger Jake DeBrusk. “That’s why he’s our captain and has been a captain for a while here now. It’s really nice to see him on the ice and a morale boost for sure.”
“He’s a tough guy, but any time someone gets hit in a puck in the face and they play the next game, I think you’re pretty surprised,” said fourth-line center Sean Kuraly.
“It’s dedication,” added DeBrusk. “Even him coming to the bench for the third period [in Game 4]; we knew he wasn’t going to play but just coming and supporting us, it was something we needed. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but it definitely helped our bench.”
Since it’s not very comfortable to speak, Chara wrote out responses to two questions on Thursday. His first certainly makes it sound like he’s going to play Thursday night.
“At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play. I’m no different than any player on either team,” Chara sai…. wrote.
He also isn’t thinking about what could happen to his jaw if (when?) he takes the ice Thursday night.
“You don’t think about that. You think about playing,” wrote Chara. “You don’t go into a game thinking you might get hurt.”
Chara isn’t saying much about this injury, but it’s not just because he physically can’t. Marchand said you’ll never hear Big Z bring up injuries, even when he can open his mouth.
“You never know what he’s playing through because he keeps everything quiet and to himself. He’s not worried about complaining about injuries. He’s willing to play with one leg, one arm,” said Marchand. “It doesn’t matter, he’s out there working as hard as he can and sacrificing his body. He knows at the end of the day that if you win, it’s worth everything you go through. Not everyone has that. You can’t teach that or push that on people; it’s either in you or it’s not. He’s able to play through a lot more pain than most people, probably anyone in this league. It’s incredible to see.”
There is playing through injury, and then there’s this. It’s easy to see why Zdeno Chara has been such a great leader for so long.