Less than 48 hours after the Boston Bruins 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, the players met the media one final time before they head off in different directions for the off-season. Like with any team in the playoffs, the Bruins dealt with multiple injuries to key players in the lineup. Captain and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was one of those players who had multiple injuries during the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Chara revealed that he indeed played with a broken jaw, which required surgery and will need five to six weeks of recovery time to officially heal , after he took a deflected puck to the face in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“Yeah, I got multiple fractures,” said Chara. “It’s obviously been reinforces with two plates, wires, and screws.”
Just like every hockey player who has suffered an injury in their career, Chara really wanted to get back out on the ice and play. Unfortunately, the medical staff did not clear him to go back into Game 4, but that did not stop Chara from being with his teammates on the bench. The only way Chara was allowed to go back on the bench to cheer on his teammates was to wear a face shield to protect his injured area, but he was ready to go if the situation called for it.”
“My original plan was to go back in and play,” Chara added. “I wanted to play really badly, it was a very close game. We were still in a great position, but you know sometimes you have to respect the knowledge the the medical decision is the right one and in that case it obviously was. It could be a lot worse maybe if something happened to the same area. I just wanted to be with the guys and I wanted to be there to support them even knowing I wouldn’t see a shift.”
The 42-year old defenseman was amazed by the how quickly the doctors got him back together in order for him to play in Game 5. Chara missed the rest of Game 4, but played the rest of the series with a protective shield over his injured jaw.
“It was just an amazing job,” said Chara. “They were able to put together [a plan] in a quick turnaround of 36 hours from the end of the [Game 4] and the beginning of Game 5…it’s one of those things that I think I’m able to tolerate pain.”
Like with any injury the best thing for a player is to get back on the ice and play which allows the mind to be distracted from the pain of the injury and focus on playing the game. Injuries are just as much physical as they are mental.
“I was able to just focus on the game and what was ahead of us. We have to accept that the game and sports brings some pain and the sacrifices you have to be willing to accept.”
Despite the injury to his jaw, Chara was pleased with the fact he could still contribute to the Bruins on a high level. Considering how old Chara is, he may not have many more cracks at a Stanley Cup, so he needed to believe in his abilities as he fought through the injuries that plagued him.
“It’s one of those I kept pushing and pushing and find another level of limits you can go through and beyond,” said Chara. “With the spirit and faith I had I kept playing, perform well and so I was very happy and was still able to contribute and play a high level and play well and helping the team.”
The broken jaw was not the only injury Chara had to deal with in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Chara injured his groin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. Chara would miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, but was out there to celebrate with his teammates as the Bruins clinched another trip to the Stanley Cup Final. As well as the groin injury, Chara went through a couple more MRIs and scans for other ailments suffered during the playoffs. He will await the results to see if more procedures are needed.
“I’m waiting to see what else is gonna be needed for this offseason,” said Chara. “It was kind of one of those playoff runs that a few things started to bother me.”
The offseason will be a lot shorter for the Bruins this year, so the quicker Chara knows the results the better. He will need as much time as possible to recover before training camp starts back up in September.