Bruins prepared to play without Zdeno Chara, however long that may be
|12.12.11 at 7:54 pm ET|
The Bruins are going to be without Zdeno Chara — reportedly for at least a week — but the B’s captain isn’t ready to count himself out for even Wednesday’s game against the Senators.
“There is no time frame when I’m going to be back, but most likely I won’t be playing tomorrow,” Chara said Monday at Ristuccia Arena. “That’s as far as I can tell you right now, because honestly it’s at a stage where we can’t really talk about any further than 24 hours ahead.”
Chara injured his left leg in a collision with Antoine Vermette Saturday night in Columbus. The Boston Globe reported Sunday that he would miss at least this week, and could potentially held out until after Christmas.
The 6-foot-9 defenseman has not missed more than five games in a season since signing with the Bruins prior to the 2006-07 season. With that being said, he understands that injuries do occur, and that he hopes to return as quickly as he can.
“It’s just the nature of this sport. In any sport, you do get hurt. Injuries do happen, and there are some things as players that you can’t control,” he said. “They do really happen. As a player, really your job is to try to do your best with the treatments and rehab to get yourself back and on the ice with the team as fast as possible. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, but also at the same time, you don’t want to rush it. You want to be smart about it.”
With Chara out, the Bruins practiced Monday without drastically shaking up their defensive pairings. Claude Julien simply subbed in Steven Kampfer for Chara on his pairing with Johnny Boychuk and left the Dennis Seidenberg – Joe Corvo and Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid pairings alone.
It will be Kampfer’s first NHL game since Nov. 17, though he played two games for Providence when the B’s sent he and Jordan Caron for some game action earlier this month.
Assuming Chara does indeed miss the team’s games this week, Kampfer, who played in three straight games last month, will get the opportunity to do so again here. For a seventh defenseman, playing time and opportunities in the lineup may come sporadically, but a week’s worth of game action will give him time to get settled in and shake off any rust.
“I think you can always get a rhythm, even if you’re not playing,” Kampfer said. “You get in for one game, you’re practicing, you’re playing well and you’ve got the guys around you that are keeping you in a rhythm, so it’s definitely easier when you’ve got a team playing as well as we are.”
With Chara out, Seidenberg, who is averaging 24:12 of ice time per game (second only to Chara’s 24:28), could see an increased work load. He wouldn’t complain if that were the case, though the B’s probably don’t want to tire their second best defenseman.
“It’s up to the coaches,” Seidenberg. “We’ve been playing pretty even minutes these last few games. Guys have been playing pretty great as a group, and no matter who’s on the ice, [Doug Houda] feels comfortable putting them out there.”
With all the hoopla surrounding Chara’s injury, it’s clear that the best news is that it isn’t serious enough to keep him out for significant time. The B’s have good depth defensively, but removing arguably the best blueliner will certainly create a challenge for the B’s. It’s a challenge the other defensemen think they can handle.
“I think that some of the other forwards on the other teams will probably be in better moods, but that’s probably the biggest change,” Ference said. “He’s a big presence. Guys don’t like playing against him. He’s obviously a huge matchup against other teams’ top lines. That’s something that there’s quite a few of us back there that have played against top lines and top two lines in the league. It’s not like anybody’s getting outside of their comfort zone.”