WILMINGTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara continues to look stronger and closer to game action with each day he practices with the Boston Bruins, but there’s still no definitive word on his availability for Saturday night’s game against the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.
Chara looked free and easy shooting the puck while working with the rest of his defensemen group during Friday morning’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. But he admitted that both he and the team are preaching patience with his upper body injury so early on. Chara said he “wants to be as close to 100 percent as possible” this early in the season and that makes sense given the kind of workload he’s expected to shoulder over the course of the year.
“I wish I could give you more info, but I’m just waiting for tomorrow and I don’t want to have any setbacks. If it keeps going like this then I’m pretty close [to returning],” said Chara. “It’s always hard to watch when you’re not playing, but I thought we did some good things as well. We’ve got to take the positives out of last night, and obviously improve on the things we could have done better.
“Every area of the injury is improving. Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t have much further on the 38-year-old Chara’s timetable for a return beyond noting a steady improvement since the captain started skating with the team at the beginning of this week.
“He’s still day-to-day,” said Julien. “So we have to have a look at where he is tomorrow, and then move on from there. [The medical staff] knows when he should and shouldn’t go, and he’s respectful enough to listen and trust the medical staff.”
Clearly the Bruins could use Chara back as soon as possible after springing defensive leaks all over in the ice in allowing six goals to the Winnipeg Jets and getting subpar performances from the entire “D” group outside of Torey Krug and Kevan Miller on opening night.