The Boston Bruins will have a huge hole in their lineup with defenceman Zdeno Chara out four to six weeks. He has a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the team announced Friday.
Chara suffered the injury during Boston’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders.
There are no plans for surgery right now, said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.
Despite the reality of Chara’s injury, the club is not going to let it get to them.
“There’s no discouragement in that room,” head coach Claude Julien said. “There’s no issues there at all to be honest with you. It’s more about, ‘Hey, it’s opportunities for players.’ And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it’s not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It’s part of hockey.”
Indeed it is.
Chara is still the man on the blueline for the Bruins, however, and there are logistics to consider. Replacing a guy who plays an average of 21:41 per game is never an easy task. He typically logs about 3:25 of shorthanded ice time per game, for instance, and that hole has to be filled.
Obviously the Bruins can turn to Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, and Torey Krug for more ice time and more presence in key situations. There will be opportunities for the likes of Matt Bartkowski and probably Zach Trotman, too. The latter, along with Joe Morrow, was called up from the AHL on Friday and will likely play.
Along with the injury to Chara, the injury to defenceman Kevan Miller stings because it impacts the shutdown part of the Bruins’ roster. Chara has been the captain of the Bruins since 2006 and has been a vocal presence in the locker room, so that’s something else that the club will miss over the next month or more.
But again, this is part of sports. Despite the fact that the Bruins are 8-7-5 without Chara in their lineup, there are reasons to remain hopeful. This isn’t a hockey club that will crumble over the loss of one player, as Julien has said. But this is a hockey club with a Chara-sized hole right now and that’s never going to be a good thing, no matter how you slice it.