After Chicago’s Game 4 overtime win, one thing they thought they were able to do was find weaknesses in Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s game. Bruins coach Claude Julien seemed to find some amusement in that idea when speaking with reporters following the team’s morning skate today.
When asked about Jonathan Toews’ comments about possibly exposing Chara’s weaknesses, Julien dared the Blackhawks to do it again.
“I mean, they’re allowed their comments. If that’s what they think, then they should try it again,” Julien said. “A lot of people have tried to figure out Zdeno, and he’s the type of player he is. People talk about five goals against, but were they all his fault? None of them were his fault, actually.
“But if they want to think that way, they’re entitled to it. I have no response to that except to know that my player is going to be good and ready tonight, and they can try it again if that’s what they think.”
Toews made it his business to poke the biggest bear on the Bruins roster in Game 4. The handful of scrums he had with Chara seemed to light a spark in the rest of the Blackhawks. Now that they’ve talked the talk on Chara, they’d better be ready to walk the walk.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: