A trusted source close to the situation, confirmed to Boston Hockey Now Tuesday afternoon that Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara did indeed break his jaw early in the second period of the Bruins’ 4-2 loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The status of 6-foot-9, 250-pound rearguard is still unknown, but the source told Boston Hockey Now the team has not internally ruled Chara out for the remainder of the series.
Earlier in the afternoon, an additional report from The Athletic indicated Chara had a broken jaw.
As of Tuesday evening, the Bruins were yet to publicly confirm the injury or timetable for a return, if any.
Chara joined his teammates on the bench for the third period but did not play and was protected by a full face shield. Fellow defenseman Brandon Carlo told the media after the game that Chara could hardly talk.
“Obviously his mouth has some blood, and some whatever, I don’t know what’s going on in there,” Carlo said. “But he can barely talk and he’s out there supporting us. His leadership is on a whole other level — especially in this final round — from what I’ve seen. He’s always been there for us. He’s been great communicating. He just wants to be there to support us.”
On Tuesday, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy already seemed prepared for the worst as he discussed the possibility Chara could miss time. Cassidy was contemplating using seven defensemen should both Chara and Matt Grzelcyk be out of the lineup for Game 5.
“Well, the back end could have a domino effect,” Cassidy told the media Tuesday. “Again, speculation. I hate doing this. If we are out two D, ‘Griz’ [sic] and ‘Zee’ [sic], we might have to play seven defensemen. Putting guys in that haven’t played a ton.”
“Maybe you’ve got to look at how does this best work out to use a guy situationally, take Zee’s [sic] PK minutes, if the other guys match up, which of course would be reaching into an area that a young kid hasn’t played in the Playoffs at all. You have to be careful there.”
If that was the case, rookie Urho Vaakanainen and Steven Kampfer would likely draw into the lineup.
Zdeno Chara has one goal and four assists in 20 playoff games.
Kampfer has one goal in two playoff games this spring and the 20-year-old Vaakanainen has never appeared in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.