On Tuesday, sources confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suffered a broken jaw early in the second period of his team’s 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. On Wednesday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy gave no definitive update on injured captain Zdeno Chara following practice.
“He’s not here and didn’t skate, so that makes it a little more difficult for him [to play],” Cassidy told the media. “No update on him. Give you an update on him tomorrow.”
The news was a bit more positive on fellow rearguard Matt Grzelcyk though after he practiced with the team for the first time since being concussed a week ago after a hit from behind from Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist who was suspended for Game 3.
“Grzelcyk skated today, red jersey. He’s still on the protocol,” said Cassidy. “If he gets cleared then he’ll be ready to go. Whether that’s by tomorrow or not I can’t tell you. That’s probably the best I can give you right now. The [injured] guys that are skating are obviously closer [to a return]. Seeing [Grzelcyk] out there today gives you confidence that he’s close.”
Grzelcyk was excited to be back skating with his teammates and hoping for the green light in Game 5.
“Nice to join back with the team and get out there and take some reps on the ice,” Grzelcyk said. “Hopefully I get cleared to play. If I get called, I’ll be ready.”
Urho Vaakanainen once again practiced with the Bruins and not the Black Aces Wednesday but while Cassidy still isn’t ruling out dressing seven defensemen, he sounded more than hesitant to put the 20-year-old rookie into the lineup this deep into the playoffs.
“You’re putting guys in who haven’t played a ton, so maybe you look at, OK, how does this best work out for us,” Cassidy said. “Use a guy situationally to take [Chara’s] penalty kill minutes if need be, another guy to match up. It would be reaching into an area where a young kid hasn’t played in the playoffs at all for us, so we’ve got to be careful there.”
As far as Cassidy is concerned though, it really doesn’t matter because at this point, with his team two wins away from the Stanley Cup, no matter who is in there, they need to step up.
“This matchup is not good with [Chara] out, let’s face it,” he said. “They’re a big, heavy team, so we lose that element. But someone else is going to have to step up and I think we do it as a group.”