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Zdeno Chara joins Marian Hossa for day with Stanley Cup (again) 08.22.15 at 2:20 pm ET
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When Marian Hossa brings the Stanley Cup home to Slovakia, Zdeno Chara is there.

In what’s becoming a recurring tradition (because Hossa wins the Cup kind of often), the Bruins’ captain joined the Blackhawks forward for his day with the Cup this week. The two were joined by fellow Trencin native Marian Gaborik.

The Cup’s been to Trencin quite a bit in recent years; since 2011, there’s only been one year (2012) in which none of these guys won the Cup.

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Zdeno Chara has no plans to retire before contract is up in 2018 06.15.15 at 12:26 pm ET
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In case anyone was thinking Zdeno Chara might consider retirement after a disappointing 2014-15 season, the defenseman made it clear that’s not on his mind.

Speaking to Postmedia Network late last week, Chara said he wants to play out his contract, which runs through the 2017-18 season, and help the Bruins return to the postseason.

“My contract goes for another three years and I’d like to play until then,” he said. “I think we still have a competitive team with some good young players.

“Being out of the playoffs just makes you want to get back there even more.”

Chara dealt with some physical issues this past season — most significantly a torn ligament in his left knee that knocked him out of the lineup from Oct. 23 until Dec. 11. He also suffered a fractured ankle in April, keeping off the Slovakian roster for the World Hockey Championship in Prague. He said the one good thing about the Bruins missing the playoffs is it’s given him more time to recover.

“You’d rather be playing at this time of year,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s given me a chance to heal and that’s important.”

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Zdeno Chara has non-displaced fracture of left fibula, does not need surgery 04.21.15 at 7:06 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Tuesday that Zdeno Chara has a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula that won’€™t require surgery but will have a four-week recovery time.

The injury was seemingly suffered when Chara blocked a shot from Maple Leafs forward David Booth on April 4. Chara missed a practice the following week but was hit on the other side of his left foot in the team’€™s next game with a shot from Capitals forward Joel Ward.

The injury did not cost Chara any games, as the B’s were still pushing for a playoff spot in the last four games of the season.

Chara said at last week’€™s breakup day that he was healthy and that he would have a full offseason to train. Even with the four-week recovery time, Chara should be able to train normally at some point in May.

It was reportedly earlier Tuesday that the injury would keep Chara out of the upcoming IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic.

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Zdeno Chara won’t need surgery, vows to return to normal self 04.13.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara‘€™s PCL may be toast, but he says he’s got a healthy offseason ahead of him.

Chara will not require knee surgery after tearing the PCL on Oct. 23 and missing nearly two months. He admitted that he wasn’€™t right when in his first 10-15 games back.

“Obviously I was not looking good and [took] a lot of criticism for that, but that’€™s the only way you can do it,” he said. “What are you going to do? You’€™ve just got to play. You’€™ve just got to go through it and eventually you play out of it. It took me a number of games, but then I started feeling better and better, made more adjustments and honestly, towards the end I had no issues. I was skating back to normal. It just takes time.”

The ligament Chara tore is pretty much destroyed — he said “œmaybe 10 percent”€ is still attached –€” but it stabilized after two or three months. Chara, who will continue to wear a knee brace, feels the PCL will not be an issue this summer.

In the final week of the season, Chara was hit twice in the left ankle by shots. He said he is in fine health now heading into the offseason.

If that’€™s true, that will be a departure from the last couple of years. Chara played through injuries until the end of the last two seasons entering this year, with a hip issue hindering him in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final and broken fingers hurting his play against the Canadiens in the second round last season.

Instead of having to recover from such injuries in a relatively short offseason, Chara now has all of the spring and summer to train. He will continue to tweak his workout plan.

This season was a step back from Chara’€™s 2013-14 season, which was one of the best of his career and deserving of the Norris Trophy (he finished second). Asked whether he can tell after a season with injuries if he is still the same player, the 38-year-old was adamant in his response.

“I am,” he said. “Believe me, I will be.”

Continued Chara: “I know there’€™s a lot of questions asked about my age and this and that, but trust me, it’€™s not an issue. If it [wasn’€™t] an issue last year, why would it be this year? One year, you’€™re not going to lose everything.

“It’€™s something that an injury did happen, and obviously, it slowed down the whole season. As much as I would like to have a great season, it’€™s not going to happen when you miss two months off the ice and then it takes another month just to get your timing back. For sure, it’€™s not ideal. It’€™s difficult to deal with, but I will find a way to be [great] again. I have no doubt to be at my top performance.”

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Bruins lament failure of season 04.11.15 at 11:34 pm ET
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TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins never gained traction this season and now it’€™s over. Though injuries and the team’€™s coaches/management will be blamed for the team’€™s demise, the team’€™s motor was seemingly busted all season.

“When you don’€™t make the playoffs, you’€™ve failed,” Claude Julien said after the Bruins finished ninth in the Eastern Conference.

For all the team’€™s inconsistency this season, the Bruins were in control of a playoff spot entering the final week of the season. Boston sat third in the Atlantic Division entering their season-ending three-game road trip, but regulation losses in Washington and Florida left the Bruins needing teams like the Senators and Penguins to lose in order for Boston to get in.

That didn’€™t happen and the Bruins got what was coming.

“I really don’€™t have an answer,”€ Chris Kelly said. “You’€™d think at the most critical time, we’€™d be playing our best hockey, and that wasn’€™t the case. It was in our hands and we let it get away. This is ultimately what happens.”

Kelly and other leaders called out the team at multiple points in an effort to return to the success of seasons past, but their efforts rarely took.

“I mean, you talk about it all the time. You talk about, ‘€˜We need to have everybody going. We need to do this, we need to do that,’€™ and at the end of the day I just think a lot of it is mental,” Tuukka Rask said. “We never really got to that comfort zone. It seemed like we were nervous a lot of times out there and just couldn’€™t overcome that as a team. It’€™s frustrating, but I really don’€™t know why that happened.”

Now, the Bruins will not play postseason hockey for the first time since 2006-07.

“We could have been better. We could have been more consistent throughout the year,” Zdeno Chara said. “It’€™s been a tough year for us all around. I think everybody could have been better.”

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Bruins return Joe Morrow to Providence at 11:23 am ET
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Joseph Morrow

Joe Morrow

TAMPA, Fla. — To the surprise of no one, Zdeno Chara will play Saturday night as the Bruins make their final and unlikely bid to reach the postseason.

That much was made official Saturday morning when the team announced it had sent defenseman Joe Morrow to Providence.

Morrow had been recalled earlier in the week as Chara dealt with an injury in the left foot area. Chara missed Monday’s practice after blocking a shot with the foot a week ago against the Leafs, and he was hit again on the other side of the foot by a Joel Ward shot Wednesday in Washington. Neither he nor the Bruins have elaborated on his condition.

With Morrow no longer on the roster, Boston has only six defensemen: Chara, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. Dougie Hamilton did not make the trip and will not play.

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Bruins prepare for critical meeting with Panthers 04.09.15 at 6:40 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins say they understand the threat that exists of them missing the playoffs. Thursday night’€™s game against the Panthers, their 81st game of the season, needs to be their biggest push.

That means the B’€™s can’€™t have the start they did Wednesday, when two poor play with the puck and coverage lapses put them in an early deficit from which they never recovered.

“I think [we need to] come out a lot more focused,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “Playing the way we’€™re supposed to, which is getting pucks deep and managing the puck a lot better than we did.”

Claude Julien said their could be lineup changes Thursday, though he did not specify which players could be in or out. Zdeno Chara will play.

The Bruins enter Thursday’€™s game tied with the Senators with 95 points through 80 games on the season. A playoff berth could be secured either by Boston winning both its final games or by the B’€™s finishing with more points in the next two games than the Senators.

“To this point, I think if we win the next two games I don’€™t think anyone will even be talking about this anymore,”€ Brad Marchand said. “€œThat’€™s [easier] said [than] done. We’€™ve got a lot of really good leadership in there that we can follow going into games like tonight.”

Both the B’€™s and Senators are in action Thursday, as the Senators will face a Rangers team that has already clinched the Presidents’€™ Trophy and is resting Rick Nash, Marc Staal and Mats Zuccarello.

Perhaps the Rangers would prefer the Senators to the Bruins as a first-round opponent. Letting their players rest while improving Ottawa’€™s playoff chances could kill two birds with one stone.

“I’€™m not following what other teams do around the league,” Chara said. “Usually that’€™s the case for many teams, but we have to focus on what we have to do.”

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