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Cam Neely: Zdeno Chara ‘getting closer’ 11.20.14 at 3:17 pm ET
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It’€™s been four weeks to the day since Zdeno Chara suffered a torn PCL on Oct. 23 against the Islanders. His anticipated recovery time was 4-6 weeks.

Chara has been seen around the team at various points, his limp subsiding in the weeks following his injury as he’€™s walked through the press box at games and –€” if you can believe it — even eaten from the dessert tray on the ninth floor of TD Garden. He could be seen doing agility drills in the hallway Tuesday morning, but he has yet to be spotted on the ice.

“He’€™s getting closer,”€ Cam Neely said Thursday. “€œI mean, you put that time between when he got hurt and now, there’€™s been a lot of forward progress for him.”

Neely said that Chara has handled being out of the lineup well. Given his competitive nature and the fact that he hasn’€™t missed more than five games in any of his previous eight seasons, this might not be the easiest time for the Bruins’€™ captain.

“€œIt’€™s frustrating for anybody that’€™s been out of the lineup for any length of time,”€ Neely said. “€œRegardless of if you’€™ve been relatively healthy your whole career, no one likes watching.”

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Dumbfounded’ at Bruins’ loss to Maple Leafs 11.13.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB, following broadcasting the Bruins’ blowout loss to Toronto Wednesday night and to discuss the state of the team going into Thursday’s game against Montreal. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

McGuire was inside the benches during the Bruins’ 6-1 loss Wednesday night, and did not like what he saw from the Bruins team, which was unexpected as he thought they would have played well going in.

“I said this last night, and I meant it sincerely, I haven’t seen the Bruins get beat like that in a long time,” said McGuire. “I was dumbfounded by that because I was around their room, I talked to their coaches before the game. The players really had an intense situation that they were looking at, they were looking like they were up to the challenge.

“The coaches were really excited — they had won six of their previous seven, all seven games that they had played previously [Zdeno] Chara wasn’t there, and they were finding ways to get it done. Obviously [Patrice] Bergeron and [Dougie] Hamilton were really playing well. I had the feeling they were going to play a really good game last night, and I was really wrong. They did not play a good game last night.”

Tuukka Rask was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals and although he might not have played in the second half of the back-to-back, McGuire says he should after what took place Wednesday night, and Rask not playing the entire game.

“[Tuukka] has to get his team’s confidence in Montreal, so that the team knows that he can deliver there,” he said. “It is up to him, and if I were Claude [Julien], he’s playing tonight.”

“You have to get back on your horse and Tuukka is going to play guilty tonight,” he added. “I don’t know if he is going to be good enough to win or not, but he has to get in there and play guilty and say, ‘I wasn’t good enough last night.’ I think he’s that honest with himself and with his teammates, that I think he will play guilty tonight.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Read More: Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens, Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask
5 things we learned as Maple Leafs made Bruins miss Zdeno Chara 11.12.14 at 10:32 pm ET
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Phil Kessel scored twice against the Bruins Wednesday. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

Phil Kessel scored twice against the Bruins Wednesday. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

TORONTO –€” The first eight games of the Zdeno Chara-less schedule looked like a group of largely winnable contests before they would have to face the Canadiens.

For as well as the Bruins survived that stretch, they ended it in disastrous fashion.

For all the bad moments have had this season — and they’€™ve had plenty between their early-season struggles and the injuries they’€™ve suffered –€” they hadn’€™t really gotten walloped by anyone, let alone a Maple Leafs opponent they had handled easily without Chara once already.

The Bruins’€™ 6-1 loss to the Maple Leafs (here is the box score) provided a reminder for anyone who had forgotten that, though Boston hasn’€™t played many good teams of late, things are a lot harder without No. 33 on the ice. Phil Kessel, a player who is usually silent against his former team because of Chara, enjoyed a two-goal night against Boston’€™s mortal blue line.

Tuukka Rask was yanked after giving up three goals early in the second period and four on the night. Even what looked like a well-targeted Bruins goal by Reilly Smith was negated in the second period by Carl Soderberg being in the crease.

Of course, it wasn’€™t just about Chara, Rask or Boston’€™s defense. This was one of those once-in-a-season colossal stinkers that a team can only hope will end up being their worst loss of the season with few other candidates.

Here are four other things we learned Wednesday night:

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Read More: Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara noncommittal on lack of surgery 11.04.14 at 12:50 pm ET
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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since suffering a torn PCL on Oct. 23.

Prior to the team’€™s morning skate, Chara stood in the hall at TD Garden with a brace on his leg as he stickhandled and shot pucks against the wall. He is in the second week of what is expected to be a 4-6 week recovery.

The day after the injury, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that surgery was not expected to be required for Chara. Asked Tuesday if he was happy to not need surgery, Chara wasn’€™t as definitive.

“Well, we’ll see,” Chara said. “It’s always nice to avoid surgery. We’ll see how it goes, but that was obviously good news.”

It’s worth noting that Aaron Ward, who first reported Chara’s injury, said in his initial report that the Bruins would “evaluate need for surgery or not” at the end of the 4-6 week process.

When asked about a timeline for his recovery, Chara was noncommittal.

Said Chara: “I wish I could tell you guys exactly when I’m going to return but at this point it’s such a slow process, who knows where it’s going?”

The injury was suffered in the first period of the team’€™s loss to the Islanders on a hit to New York captain John Tavares. Following the hit, Chara stayed on the ice during a TV timeout and finished his shift upon the game resuming. He left the bench but said he had not felt anything on his hit on Tavares.

“No, nothing,” Chara said. “Just on the shift after it I felt some discomfort, but no pain or anything like that. I just went into the locker room to just check on things, but obviously I found out there was more to it.”

Since losing the game in which he was injured, the Bruins are 3-1-0 without Chara. The team has also lost Torey Krug to a broken finger in that time, and Kevan Miller was already out with a dislocated shoulder. The team has also pulled Matt Bartkowski from the lineup amidst early season struggles, resulting in Joe Morrow, David Warsofsky and Zach Trotman making up half of Boston’€™s back end.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘I believe [Bruins] will find a way’ 10.30.14 at 2:07 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB in advance of Thursday night’€™s Bruins game with the Sabres and to talk about the injuries the Bruins have been forced to deal with. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Bruins have lost two of their last three games, including two, one-goal games at home — the latest a 4-3 loss to the Wild where they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. McGuire stressed even if the Bruins were to lose to Buffalo Thursday night, it would not be a time to panic.

“It’€™s an 82-game schedule,” McGuire said. “This isn’€™t football, it’€™s not every week being a Super Bowl game. You have to understand there are ebbs and flows in every season and there’€™s huge peaks and gigantic valleys that you have to climb out of. This reminds me so much of what Detroit went through last year without [Henrik] Zetterberg and [Pavel] Datsyuk — they had so many key injuries. Jimmy Howard was not doing well due to injury and illness. Everyone said they wouldn’€™t make the playoffs –€“ 22 years in a row they made it, 23 won’€™t happen — but, guess what? They found a way.

“I believe this Boston Bruins team will find a way and a lot of those young players are getting an opportunity to play now, they are going to be the beneficiaries in this.”

Added McGuire: “I’€™m bullish on the Bruins, I really am. There’€™s no substitute for grit and there’€™s no substitute for maturity and this is a mature leadership kind of team that has a tremendous amount of grit.”

The Bruins have had a number of injuries to their defensive group, including Zdeno Chara (ligament tear in knee), Torey Krug (broken finger), Kevan Miller (upper-body) on top of the trade of Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders before the season. McGuire says this is a time for three other Bruins defensemen to step up, as well as an important stretch for assistant coach Doug Houda.

“The biggest thing is –€“ limited ice time — this is where Doug Houda, who is not a real big-name on the Bruins, but he’€™s the assistant coach that changes the defense, he’€™s got to really pay attention to matchups,” said McGuire. “This is where [Dennis] Seidenberg has to play like he played in Toronto the other night — almost 26 minutes, he was really good. Dougie Hamilton obviously was fantastic in that game. He’€™s going to have to be good. This is where you need Adam McQuaid to be a little bit more stable and better with the puck. Those three guys are going to have to be a lot better, especially when you consider not having Chara, Krug and the trading of Boychuk.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Pierre McGuire, Torey Krug
Dougie Hamilton has injury scare a day after Bruins lose Zdeno Chara for month 10.24.14 at 1:19 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins can’€™t afford to lose another top defensemen ‘€” they’€™ve really only got two left ‘€” so things looked pretty scary in Friday’€™s practice when Dougie Hamilton appeared to be in serious pain after getting hit in the right hand with a shot.

After getting hit, Hamilton took his glove off and grimaced for a few minutes as he repeatedly shook his hand. He resumed drills, but shook his hand after each turn and repeatedly went to the bench to get checked on by a trainer.

Following the practice, Hamilton said that his hand was OK, but there was a big red mark where the puck had clearly hit him. The fact that he finished practice is a good sign that the B’€™s survived the scare.

Hamilton skated on the team’s top pairing with Dennis Seidenberg in Friday’s practice. He has been used as Zdeno Chara‘s partner this season, but Chara is out for at least a month due to a torn PCL.

The pairings in practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

 

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Zdeno Chara,
Peter Chiarelli says Zdeno Chara (torn PCL) doesn’t need surgery, Bruins recall Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow at 11:42 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday morning that Zdeno Chara‘€™s injury is a torn posterior cruciate ligament that will keep him out for four to six weeks. Chiarelli said that surgery for Chara is not a likely option.

The Bruins also recalled defensemen Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman from Providence Friday. Chiarelli said that the multiple defensemen callup was partially due to “a couple of little things” players are battling, but that he thinks “it will be OK.”

Chiarelli hinted that he will not look to the trade market for a replacement for Chara, responding to such a question with “four to six weeks, we’€™ll have him back.”

The B’€™s GM also said that Chara could return before the four-week mark, and that the four-to-six week window was a conservative estimate. He confirmed that the injury was suffered when Chara hit Islanders captain John Tavares in the first period of Thursday’s game.

The Bruins’ defensive pairings in Friday’s practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
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