The Bruins received some bad news earlier this week as future Hall of Fame defensemen and team captain Zdeno Chara was declared out for 4-6 weeks with a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injury in his left knee. Since signing with the Bruins in 2006, Chara has only missed 15 games and has proven himself to be one of the most important players in team history. He is one of the centerpieces around which the front office has built two Eastern Conference championship teams and a squad that raised the Stanley Cup in 2011. He is a leader both on and off the ice and has been the driving forces behind the resurgence of hockey in Boston.
Chara averages 25 minutes of ice time a game and is routinely tasked with playing against an opponent’s best line. He also logs time on the power play and penalty kill, the mark of a truly great player. His slap shot has set world records and his presence alone has made some of the most skilled players in the game skate the other way. No one can replace him and the Bruins are clearly worse off without him but if he can come back fully healthy, the six week break could help him and the Bruins in the long run.
The past two playoff runs have showed Chara battle minor injuries and fatigue and not be the same force he usually is during the regular season and during previous post seasons. In the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, Chara was a -5 rating including a -1 rating in the crushing series ending loss in game six. In the 2014 second round against Montreal he was a +4. However, that positive rating was inflated as he was a +1 in game one and a +5 in game two of the series. In the final five games, he was an even rating three times and a -1 on two occasions. Continue reading Why Six Weeks Off For Zdeno Chara Could Help the Bruins in the Long Haul »