Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and general manager Don Sweeney somehow convinced their 42-year-old captain Zdeno Chara to sit out the Bruins’ 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden Thursday night due to another infection in his surgically repaired jaw, but it appears they’re not going to try again as all signs point towards Chara returning when the Bruins play the New York Islanders in Brooklyn Saturday night.
“We talked to him after I left [Thursday night] a bit about the danger of playing through what he’s going through,” Cassidy said. “He wants to play every game but that was a decision made higher up that he should take the day off. …and he did begrudgingly, but he wants to get back in there tomorrow night and I believe he will be.”
As far as Chara is concerned, he’s ready to go.
“I feel ready to go and at least I want to play,” Chara said. “I feel ready to go for tomorrow.”
These recurring jaw issues, that also kept him out of the Bruins’ 7-3 win over the Washington Capitals back on December 23, stem from the surgery he had done during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final after he broke his jaw in Game 4 but still played through the pain until the Bruins succumbed to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7. With this latest setback occurring midseason, he knows it’s probably smart to heed the advice of the team and their medical staff so it doesn’t become a bigger issue in the playoffs.
“Of course I want to play but sometimes you have to listen to your body, you have to listen to the doctors,” he said. “I think a decision was made for the right reasons. So today’s a new day and I’m getting ready obviously for tomorrow’s game.”
The hope is that this will be the last time Chara will have to miss a game due to an infected jaw.
“I hope so,” Chara said. “It’s very unfortunate. Sometimes these things happen for whatever reasons and this one obviously came out of nowhere on the morning of the Nashville game. So we were taking precautionary actions and monitoring it closely. So that’s just where it’s at right now.”
If Chara had played Thursday night, he would’ve played in his 1,000th game as a Bruin but now that milestone will have to wait until Monday in Philadelphia when the Bruins play the Flyers. Chara has five goals and eight assists in 43 games this season.