Brad Marchand raves about injured Zdeno Chara's willingness to do anything to win


BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins couldn't have more respect for Zdeno Chara.

The B's captain is among the very best leaders and one of the toughest players in the NHL. Chara reportedly broke his jaw in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, but there's a still a chance he plays in Thursday night's Game 5 against the St. Louis. 

B's coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday morning that Chara is a game-time decision after the 42-year-old defenseman took part in the optional skate wearing a full shield on his helmet. Chara's teammates, including Bruins forward Brad Marchand, had nothing but praise for the veteran defenseman.

"He's an incredibly tough man. He's willing to play through anything," Marchand said. "It just shows so much character in him, with what he's been through and the fact he's out there this morning. There's a reason why he's still playing the  game and why he's going to be a Hall of Fame player. He's willing to do anything, put his body through anything to win, especially this time of the year. When you see your captain doing that and playing through injuries like that, it's incredible to see. I have a lot of respect for him. It's good to see him out there (skating Thursday morning) again."

Marchand has been teammates with Chara since the 2009-10 season. They've experienced many highs (winning the Stanley Cup in 2011) and lows (losing the 2013 Cup Final) together, but Marchand's appreciation for Chara's leadership and toughness started before his time in Boston.

"I think it was long before. It came in long before he was with this team. It's just engrained in him," Marchand said. "When you hear the stories about how he was brought up. He was brought up as a tough, hard-working person, very respectful. It doesn't surprise me at all to see him out there (skating Thursday morning). He wants to win more than anyone. He shows that every single night.

"You never know what he's playing through because he keeps everything to himself and he's not worried about complaining about injuries or anything like that. He's willing to play with one arm, one leg, it doesn't matter. He's just out there working as hard as he can, sacrificing his body. He knows at the end of the day, if you win, it's worth everything you go through. Not everyone has that, you can't teach that. You can't push that on people -- it's either in your or it's not. He's able to play through pain, a lot more pain than most people, probably than anyone in this league. It's incredible to see. I know I couldn't do what he does. You have a lot of respect for him, watching what he puts himself through."

Chara still isn't able to talk, so the fact there's even a chance he plays Thursday night is pretty impressive.

“At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play," Chara wrote in response to a question asked by the PHWA. "I’m no different than any player on either team."

If Chara does play, it could provide the Bruins with an emotional lift that helps carries them to a pivotal Game 5 win. He has a chance for his own WIllis Reed moment, one that Boston sports fans will never forget.

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