Could the Boston Bruins blue line be missing captain Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo, and Charlie McAvoy to start the 2019-20 regular season?
Chara was noncommittal with the media Friday when asked if he would indeed be recovered from offseason surgeries and ready to go on October 3 at Dallas against the Stars and with McAvoy and Carlo, both restricted free agents and unsigned, after what Chara told reporters, it could happen.
“I’m not sure,” Chara said after the team’s second of two captain’s practices prior to training camp which begins next Thursday. “I think I should be, but it’s a process of making sure there are no setbacks or any discomfort.”
Last season, Chara, now 42, missed the most games of his career, playing in just 62 regular season games before playing 23 of his team’s 24 playoff games en route their seven-game series loss to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Chara had surgery on his MCL in November and then during the playoffs, he missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final with what was described as a nagging groin injury at the time. In the Final against the Blues, Chara took an errant puck off the face in the second period of Game 4 and broke his jaw. The tough as nails rearguard though only missed the third period of that game and then played the remainder of the series with a protective face shield.
Following the playoffs, Chara confirmed that not only would he be recovering from surgery on his jaw but that he needed surgery to remove loose bodies in his elbow.
“Six, seven weeks, with all the surgeries I had and all the rehab I had to go through,” he said when asked how long it was before he could get back to preparing for a new season. “I’m still recovering, still working at being full-strength.”
After the season, Chara still had to stay on a liquid diet as his jaw healed.
“Yeah, that took a while,” Chara said. “I think after the season was over, that took another three, four weeks before I was able to start to eat normally and chew. So that took some time to heal. I’m glad that I’m able to enjoy the full spoons of food and consumption.”
Chara had his lowest point total with five goals and nine assists in 62 games last season. He also averaged 21:05 time on ice in the regular season, another career low. The 6’9, 250-pound blueliner had two goals and four assists in 23 playoff games.
Despite his injury-plagued regular season and a decline in points and ice time, the Bruins signed Chara to a one-year, $2 million extension on March 23. Despite his ongoing recovery from his assortment of injuries, Chara, like many of his teammates is now fueled by the heartbreaking Game 7 Final loss on home ice and is doing his best to not look back but use that motivation to look ahead.
“Life is too short to kill yourself over something that when you look back you think that it has meaning, but it’s not the end of the world,” he said. ”