BOSTON (CBS) — Zdeno Chara has a broken jaw, but that may not keep the Bruins captain out Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night. Chara not only took the ice for Thursday’s morning skate at TD Garden, but he did so without a red no-contact jersey.
Yes, it’s true. Zdeno Chara is a warrior.
Chara was sporting the full face shield on his helmet when he hit the ice on Thursday. The 42-year-old broke his jaw Monday in the second period of Boston’s 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 when he blocked a shot and it deflected up off his stick. Chara did not return to action that evening, but watched the rest of the game from the Boston bench.
Given he took the ice Thursday morning without a no-contact jersey, chances are Chara will not be watching Game 5 from the Boston bench or ninth floor of the Garden.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy said that both Chara and fellow defenseman Matt Grzelcyk are game-time decision for Game 5, which will keep Craig Berube and the St. Louis Blues guessing about Boston’s blue line.
“They’re on the ice now, and that’s a good sign,” said Cassidy. “We’ve always said when they’re out there, they are that much closer. … We’ll see how they feel at seven or so tonight.”
Chara still needs to be cleared by a doctor, and then it’s up to him if he wants to play. It’s very likely that Chara will be out there Thursday night if he’s given clearance, especially with the series tied 2-2.
Grzelcyk, meanwhile, has been out since he took a big hit in Game 2 last week. He returned to practice on Wednesday, skating with a red no-contact jersey, and said Thursday that he is still in the NHL’s concussion protocol.
Cassidy did not rule out going with seven defensemen for Game 5, but it’s starting to look like the Bruins’ blue line depth may not be so bad after all.