Exactly a week after expressing skepticism that he would not be ready to play in the season opener at Dallas October 3, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara seemed much more optimistic following the team’s first skating session of training camp Friday.
“I believe I’ll be ready for the regular season,” Chara said. “Right now it feels pretty good. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the next day, and my goal is to keep getting stronger and feeling better.”
After a summer that saw Chara begin his now famous and rigorous of season workout regimen later than usual thanks elbow surgery and waiting for his jaw to heal properly after playing the final three games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final with a broken jaw, Chara wasn’t sure he’d be ready to go for the start of the regular season. On Friday though, he said that while he’ll likely miss at least the first two of six preseason games for the Black and Gold, he should be good to go 17 days from now in the Lonestar state.
After taking part in both on-ice sessions of camp Friday, the 42-year-old Chara seemed much more confident about his health than just a week ago.
“It was good. We had a good two sessions. I thought the energy was really good,” said Chara. “Basically I’m a part of all the drills. I don’t think I’ll be playing in the first few [exhibition] games. That’s probably something we have to talk about what’s going to be after. But with the less [preseason] games than in recent years, I think most of the guys that played all the way to the Final won’t see many of those games. But it’s something the coaching staff and management has to decide.”
This is good news for a Bruins blue line that is already missing John Moore (shoulder) until likely December and Kevan Miller (knee) until at least November. The Bruins could also be missing restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo for some regular season games if they don’t sign before October 3.
Last season, Chara 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.