Zdeno Chara’s absence from the Boston Bruins’ lineup is not expected to last very long.
The Bruins took care of business on Thursday night, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Chara, the team’s captain, did not play in the game for undisclosed reasons. Although he missed the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said they expect to have the massive defenseman back for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Bruce Cassidy expects Zdeno Chara to play Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He's dealing with an undisclosed injury.
Chara had not missed a playoff game since 2011 prior to Thursday night. The 42-year-old has been a +11 in the playoffs and has three points in 16 games.
The Bruins await the winner of the Western Conference final between San Jose and St. Louis, which the Sharks lead 2-1. That series could be over as early as Game 5 on Sunday, or last as long as Game 7 on Thursday May 23.
The Boston Bruins will be without their captain as they try to close out their Eastern Conference final series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Zdeno Chara is out for Thursday’s Game 4 of the series with an undisclosed issue. The Bruins captain was not on the ice for warmups before the game while John Moore was. The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver reported that the scratch was more precautionary.
Word is Chara scratch is more precautionary than serious
You know what they always say — nothing brings a couple of old rivals together like an Ivy League education.
Fine, maybe they don’t say that, but P.K. Subban and Zdeno Chara were arguably the two biggest stars on their respective teams when the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins renewed their rivalry several years back. Now, the two defensemen are taking a class together at Harvard.
TSN’s BarDown did a little digging into the class Subban and Chara are attending, and it is part of the Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports program — also known as B.E.M.S. — at Harvard. It appears several current and former star athletes are taking part, as a photo Subban shared showed a name tag for Andy Roddick in the background.
Subban wasn’t exactly classy after the Canadiens beat the Bruins in a hard-fought series back in 2014, and the bad blood between the two teams was very real. Now that he plays for the Nashville Predators and Chara is in the twilight of his career, that all seems like a thing of the past. Still, it’s sure to send a chill down the spines of Bruins and Canadiens fans.
Zdeno Chara and Brendan Smith play the same position. You wouldn’t know that by looking at the Boston Bruins captain when he almost squared off with Smith on Sunday, but that’s because Chara is a giant.
A scrum broke out during Game 2 of Boston’s opening round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, and Chara and Smith ended up exchanging a few minor shoves and punches. It was disappointing as far as fights go, but the fact that Chara was laughing in Smith’s face made it hilarious.
That was clearly Chara’s way of saying, “You sure you wanna go little guy?” It was a no-win situation for Big Z, as he would have been seen as a bully if he actually dropped the gloves against a player who is seven inches shorter than him. The size difference alone would have made it an impossible fight for Smith to win, but Kudos to him for not punking out. I’m sure Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is glad a linesman eventually got in the way.
Sidney Crosby is not known as a physical player. In fact, he’s the exact opposite; he’s a skilled player who has accrued just 417 penalty minutes in 470 career games. But as the second period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins came to a close, Crosby got into it with two different Bruins.
The Bruins were up 1-0 and managed to keep the Penguins from scoring despite Pittsburgh being on the power play to end the period. While Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron got most of the attention for dropping gloves after the period ended, what should not go unnoticed is what happened with Crosby and Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Rask was skating off the ice after the period ended and crossed paths with Crosby as the Pens captain was headed over to the pile of players who met in the middle of the ice. Crosby gave Rask a nudge with his elbow, and Rask may have responded because Crosby turned around and went back to confront Rask. Crosby gave him a cross check. As the Bergeron-Malkin fight was being broken up by the officials, Crosby had words with Chara. Maybe it was just two captains trying to stand up for their teams.
“They’re letting a lot go out there, and the more it gets like that, the more it’s going to escalate. You can only control and channel that stuff so much. You keep letting guys do that stuff, you’re just going to push the envelope. That’s something we obviously want to stay away from, but it’s kind of a natural thing when it gets like that,” Crosby said after the game, per Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The teams will play Game 2 on Monday in Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to see how the officials handle things after all the physical play in Game 1. After Matt Cooke’s hit on Adam McQuaid, I can imagine things continuing to be physical.
How far is too far? Hockey fans cheer for big hits and fights. When two guys drop the gloves, they want the guy on their team to rearrange the other guy’s face. It’s worse with rivals. Fan bases can develop an unbelievable hatred for one another, and no two groups of fans are a better example of that than the Bruins and Canadiens. That being said, is cheering when a rival player takes a puck to the face uncalled for?
We know Montreal fans despise Zdeno Chara in particular. Last season, Chara laid a questionable hit on Max Pacioretty and the people of Montreal actually forced the police to investigate it as a crime. Clearly they were happy to see him get nailed in the face by a puck on Wednesday night — even though the puck drew blood.
The NHL All-Star weekend is going down in Ottawa and the skills competition was held on Saturday evening. There was a full complement of events, and the Breakaway Competition provided the greatest entertainment.
Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane won the competition by going Superman with a cape and dive for his goal. He says he was inspired by Dwight Howard who went Superman in the dunk competition.
Kane also shot an “exploding puck” later in the competition. He says it was created by cutting a real puck into four pieces and gluing it back together.
Ducks winger Corey Perry had a pretty sweet trick as well. He pulled out a mini stick from his pants for his attempt:
And of course we can’t leave out the 108.8 mph slapshot from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara that broke his own record:
NHL.com has the full results from the All-Star competition, which is generally the most entertaining aspect of the weekend.
As usual, the Stanley Cup’s tour around the world has had its fair share of funny moments. Players from the Boston Bruins have each gotten their chance to spend a day with the cup, with some bringing it to Boston in a baby stroller and wild team celebrations dipping into the morning hours at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Heck, former LBS contributor Shallon Lester even managed to make headlines as the Cup was making its rounds.
Although it may not have been quite as fun as his bike ride at the championship parade, Zdeno Chara must have enjoyed his time with the Cup back home in Slovakia. However, he may have felt a bit uncomfortable when he was presented with a statue in his hometown of Trencin. Chara was honored I’m sure, but couldn’t the creators at least pay attention to the fact that Big Z is left-handed? Check out this picture of Zdeno Chara’s right-handed statue, courtesy of Puck Daddy:
And once again the old cliche comes appropriately into play: it’s the thought that counts.
The Boston Bruins have been soaking in their Stanley Cup victory over the Vancouver Canucks going on a world tour. They racked up over a $150,000 tab at Club Shrine Saturday night, showed up at Fenway Park on Sunday, and attracted over a million people to their team parade Saturday. The best part of the parade had to be Zdeno Chara riding his bike to and from the celebration. Check out the video captured by directorman12:
Chara riding his bike is somewhat of a metaphor for the Bruins’ down-to-earth, humble team. It also is representative of another interest of Chara’s: cycling. He’s been biking since he was a kid.
In an interview with the Boston Globe last year, Chara explained that his dad “was a physical therapist and masseuse for a cycling team. I helped him out and the guys in his club put a bike together for me. That’s how I first got started riding.” He says he likes to ride his bike around town to get groceries and site see rather than drive a car. I know this used to be his mentality, but after winning the Stanley Cup you can’t help but wonder if his method of transportation will change now that he’s a celebrity in the city. Hopefully it won’t.