For Zdeno Chara, he and Bruins didn’t get ‘bounces’ they needed
|06.25.13 at 10:17 am ET|
The last 76 seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup will be dissected and analyzed by Bruins fans for years to come.
What happened and how did the Bruins defense collapse? How did Bryan Bickell get free enough to pot the game-tying goal?
“I think you if I had to really talk about defense, I thought throughout the whole playoffs we did a really good job,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “They did find some holes and at times, I have to be honest, it’s not just a matter of being in the right position or covering guys. Some bounces you need to have go your way.
“If it gets deflected and goes off skates and this and that, obviously that’s not an excuse but you need to have some bounces. It seemed like we didn’t get those like we did before. But you know, they did a great job going to the net and creating a lot of traffic in front.”
Chara, who acknowledged he was dealing with some sort of injury throughout the series, will be an obvious scapegoat in the eyes of some. He was on the ice for the game-tying goal by Bryan Bickell with 1:14 left. He was on the ice for the first two goals Monday. He was on the ice for all three goals (one empty-net) in Game 5 and he was on the ice for five of the six goals in Game 4. In all, Chara was on the ice for 10 of Chicago’s final 12 goals in the series.
But, of course, Chara was also on the ice for all of those goals because no one is trusted enough to skate the kind of minutes he did all season and throughout the playoffs.
Claude Julien rode he and Dennis Seidenberg as hard as he possibly could until there was nothing left to give. In Game 6 Monday, Chara logged a team-high 25 minutes, 29 seconds in 30 shifts. Only Duncan Keith, with 28:51 in 38 shifts skated more.
Chara was asked if he was shocked when Dave Bolland scored 17.7 seconds later on a rebound from a Johnny Oduya shot from the left point.
“You know, it wasn’t like it was over,” Chara said, almost defiantly. “We were still in the game. We still had some times left and obviously you’re asking me where was my thinking and where were my emotions? Yeah, I mean, till that buzzer I am going to try to win a hockey game. At that point, we were trying to obviously get inside their zone and make a play to try and even the game.
“On the tying goal it was a quick play, I think out of the corner that there was a guy coming to the net, guy in front and guy on the side. So, they made a quick play. The third goal there was a shot from the point, and a deflection. It’s a tough way to lose, tough way to lose a game, tough way to lose a series.”
The lingering question is did the Blackhawks succeed in targeting Chara as part of their game plan? Was their physical approach on him the reason they found their scoring touch midway through the series?
“I think that it was the case for every team. I think it wasn’t just Chicago,” Chara said. “I think that throughout the whole playoffs, no matter who you play it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be grinding and it’s not just, obviously Chicago. It was just the playoffs, I think that that’s the way it is. It’s physical and you have to expect that.
“I think it was just like any other series. It was just like I said, it was physical.”
Chara paid the ultimate compliment to his teammate Patrice Bergeron and the injuries he battled through.
“It was very encouraging and he’s a warrior and battled through a lot,” Chara said of Bergeron’s decision to play in Game 6 with a broken rib and torn cartilage. “So it was great to see him out there.”
But Chara would not take the same route.
“I’m not talking about my physical status, sorry.”