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5 things we learned as Bruins get Zdeno Chara back, fall to Blackhawks 12.11.14 at 9:41 pm ET
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The Bruins got their captain back Thursday and, for a couple of periods, began to look like their old selves.

Sure, they lost to the Blackhawks (box), but their old selves used to do that, too. The B’€™s push in the second and third periods brought them back from a 3-0 hole. If there is to be a turnaround for the Bruins this season, Chris Kelly fighting Andrew Shaw after Torey Krug’€™s goal in the third period might be a moment looked back on down the road. Boston held Chicago to two shots on goal in the third period.

It wasn’t the prettiest night for Chara, who was playing in his first game since Oct. 28. It could have been uglier, as a defensive-zone giveaway to Marian Hossa in the first period was negated by a Tuukka Rask kick save.

Chara took a pair of penalties, first hooking Brandon Saad in the first period and then sending the puck over the glass in the defensive zone during a second period Blackhawks power play to give Chicago a five-on-three.

David Krejci did not play. He has been limited to just 11 games this season.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday:

B’€™S DEPTH NO MATCH FOR CHICAGO

Though Thursday marked the return of Boston’€™s best player, it was the bottom of the B’s roster that failed them in the first period.

Playing against Chicago’€™s fourth line, Boston’€™s bottom-six forwards and third defensive pairing allowed a pair of goals.

Boston College product Ben Smith turned in a monster of a play on the first goal in outbattling Gregory Campbell for a puck behind the net. Campbell knocked Smith down, but Smith got up with Campbell still in coverage, kicked the puck to himself and skated free before sending a shot to the top of the left circle that Klas Dahlbeck buried past Tuukka Rask.

On Chicago’€™s second goal, a Blackhawks pass from the corner went off Seth Griffith’€™s stick and on net, with Smith jumping on the rebound and scoring.

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Zdeno Chara expected to return vs. Blackhawks, Bruins not counting on David Krejci at 11:36 am ET
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Zdeno Chara is expected to return to the lineup for the Bruins Thursday against the Blackhawks, while it appears David Krejci will not.

Chara, who has not played since tearing his PCL on Oct. 23, left Thursday’€™s morning skate with the rest of the regulars, while Krejci stayed out extra with anticipated healthy scratches Joe Morrow and Matt Bartkowski.

Chara was taken off injured reserve Thursday, while Krejci remained on it as of early Thursday afternoon.

“Not officially, but I’€™m counting on [Chara],” Claude Julien said. “Krejci, nobody’€™s told me anything yet, so unless somebody tells me something after this morning skate, I’€™m not going to count on him. If they tell me he’€™s ready to go, then he’€™ll be in.”

Craig Cunningham was on the ice for Thursday’€™s skate after being recalled Wednesday. Assuming Krejci does not play, the Bruins will not have any extra forwards, meaning Cunningham would be in the lineup.

Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice in morning skate, indicating he will start in goal against Chicago.

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

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Simon Gagne on personal leave, Zdeno Chara could return Thursday for Bruins 12.09.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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Both Zdeno Chara and David Krejci practiced Tuesday as the Bruins returned to TD Garden. Chara could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday against the Blackhawks, while Claude Julien said Krejci is still a bit behind.

“Krejci hasn’€™t been cleared to play yet. They’€™ve both been cleared for practice,” Claude Julien said. “Right now, I can say I feel more optimistic about Zee right now, that he will. I don’€™t know about David.”

Simon Gagne is on a personal leave of absence, Julien said. Gagne was not at practice, with Julien saying the Bruins “don’€™t know” how long Gagne’€™s leave will be. Gagne’€™s skates and belongings were still in his stall during media availability following practice.

Carl Soderberg and Daniel Paille were also absent from practice due to a virus, while David Warsofsky practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a groin strain last month. According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Adam McQuaid skated prior to practice.

With so many players on offense missing, Loui Eriksson skated on Krejci’€™s line. Julien said afterwards that Eriksson’€™s placement in practice was strictly because of the lack of forwards.

“€œI had to just throw guys together because we were short today,”€ Julien said.

The lines and defensive pairings were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Bottom-six: Campbell, Fraser, Kelly, Griffith

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Miller
Krug – Trotman
Warsofsky, Bartkowski, Morrow

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

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Zdeno Chara not traveling with Bruins for four-game road trip 11.28.14 at 10:33 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara will not travel with the Bruins on their West Coast road trip, so he can be expected to miss the next four games.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday that Chara was a possibility to play within two weeks. Given their schedule, it would have appeared that either the finale of their road trip on Dec. 6 or their Dec. 11 meeting with the Blackhawks would be possibilities for target dates. The Chicago game could still be in play for the Bruins’€™ captain, who began skating Monday as he works his way back from a torn PCL.

Chara will stay in Boston, where he will continue to skate. He has been skating with David Warsofsky, who is rehabbing a groin injury.

Julien said it’€™s a possibility that the team could call up players to bring on the trip. The team is still without David Krejci, and it’€™s unclear whether he will travel.

“I think we’€™re talking about bringing maybe an extra player or two, obviously because we’€™re going to California,” Julien said after Friday’s win over the Jets. “That decision hasn’€™t been made. We wanted to wait for tonight’€™s game to be done, because who knows what was going to happen?”

Julien said potential callups would be made on Saturday.

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

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Zdeno Chara begins skating, Bruins announce recalls of David Pastrnak, Jordan Caron 11.24.14 at 10:17 am ET
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Zdeno Chara was spotted on the ice at TD Garden by Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald Monday morning, marking the first time the Bruins captain has been seen skating since being declared out with a torn PCL suffered last month.

Chara is four and a half weeks into what the Bruins said would be a 4-6 week recovery. He is one of three defensemen currently out for the Bruins, as Adam McQuaid is expected to miss 5-7 more weeks with a broken thumb and David Warsofsky is nursing a groin strain. Warsofsky was playing in Boston as an injury replacement.

The Bruins also announced the call-ups of David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron Monday morning. Both transactions were made Sunday. For more on the recall of Pastrnak, click here.

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

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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.”

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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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