By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A reported broken jaw will not stop Zdeno Chara from suiting up in Thursday's Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues, as pregame warmups have confirmed that the Bruins will indeed have their 42-year-old captain in action.
Bruins take the ice for warmups. Zdeno Chara in his usual spot right behind Tuukka Rask, as is tradition pic.twitter.com/XHuE5rOdw3
— Matt Dolloff (@mattdolloff) June 6, 2019
Chara's return to action was confirmed by more than just his presence on the ice, of course, and came with Chara and Charlie McAvoy skating as the Bruins' No. 1 defensive pairing during the line-rush sequence of their pregame skate.
Injured when an errant puck hit him in the face in the second period of Boston's Game 4 loss in St. Louis, Chara was not with the team for Wednesday's practice, but did take part in Thursday's optional morning skate at TD Garden.
Unable to speak, Chara 'talked' about playing through his injury through handwritten answers provided by the team.
“At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play," Chara said. "I’m no different than any player on either team.
“You don’t think about [further injury]. You think about playing. You don’t go into a game thinking you might get hurt.”
An absolute animal.
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, meanwhile, was not on the ice for the pregame warmups and appears set to miss his third straight game with a concussion. Grzelcyk took part in Wednesday's practice in a red non-contact jersey, but was apparently not cleared in time for tonight's game. Barstool Sports was the first to report that No. 48 would miss tonight's game.
But with Chara an obvious unknown, the Bruins will dress seven defensemen, meaning Steve Kampfer will be the Black and Gold's spare part on the backend. Kampfer has appeared in two postseasons tilt to date, and scored a goal in his last outing.
To accommodate Chara and Kampfer, the Bruins will scratch David Backes from the lineup.
Without a point through the first four games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Backes' move to the press box will create an obvious opening on Boston's second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. It's believed that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will rotate all three members of the Charlie Coyle line, as well as David Pastrnak, in Backes' spot.
"[Pastrnak]'s moved around a lot. He doesn’t kill penalties, so you don’t expend a lot of energy there, so there’s opportunity there to move him around coming out of penalty kills," Cassidy said in his morning availability. "Marchy [Brad Marchand] does kill so it’s a little tougher for him to get those double shifts. JoJo [Marcus Johansson] doesn’t kill, so we can move a right winger around; we can move a left winger around. [Danton] Heinen’s played both sides, so we’re comfortable with a guy getting a few extra minutes. It gets taxing obviously if you get into extended time. We can’t worry about overtimes and this and that, we’re just going to play the guys that deserve to get a little extra time if we go that route."