Claude Julien on heavy minutes for Zdeno Chara: ‘Right now, we don’t have a choice’
|05.17.13 at 3:47 pm ET|
One of the by-products of having three regular defensemen out of the lineup and injured is putting a heavy burden on others.
No where has the burden fallen more heavily than on the shoulders of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Claude Julien admitted as much on Friday, a much-needed day of rest for Chara, who logged 38 minutes of ice time in the Game 1 overtime win, three days after skating nearly 36 minutes in a Game 7 win against the Leafs.
Is Julien concerned?
“Well, he’s done it twice in a row now, when you look back at Game 7 and [Thursday],” Julien said. “We’re including overtime in that session, as well. He’s in great shape, he’s got a couple of days here to recover, so I don’t see that being an issue. To be honest with you, right now we don’t have a choice. You deal with it the best way you can.”
In addition to scoring the first goal of the game, Chara’s poke check in the Bruins zone set Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand off on the game-winning rush in overtime Thursday. Those two feats, combined with the 38 minutes on the ice earned him the Army Captain’s Bruins jacket for hero of the game.
“I’m just trying to help the team as much as I can and whatever coach feel comfortable putting out there, I’m fine with that,” Chara said.
Chara has been instrumental in helping rookies, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski in their first NHL playoff experience. He started the game Thursday paired with Hamilton. There is the chance that some combination of Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden return for Game 2 Sunday but until then, Chara and the Bruins will have no choice but to be prepared.
“You try to obviously try to talk to them on the ice as much as you can,” Chara said. “[The] coaches [are] doing their part so, and also you’ve got to let them play, the way they naturally like to play. So, that’s the biggest thing, but like I said it’s something that’s never easy for any player to come in and all of a sudden be put in a spot like this and you got to make sure that as a unit of five we all play a certain way to make it easier on certain situations.”