Zdeno Chara, David Desharnais

Desharnais believes Habs left Chara tired in Game 5


During the 2013 Stanley Cup Final series, Jonathan Toews made waves when he discussed why the Chicago Blackhawks “shouldn’t be scared of” Zdeno Chara. It seems like the Boston Bruins behemoth is being badgered again, as Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais told NHL.com that the big blueliner grew tired in Game 5 (which Boston won).

“He’s an excellent defenseman; it’s definitely not easy to play against him,” Desharnais said. “I think [Saturday] we found a way to get him tired a bit more and to pressure him.

“When you do that, he’s just another defenseman.”

Desharnais was playing it pretty safe right there, but if you’re Bruins head coach Claude Julien, you probably want to triple the font on the phrase “he’s just another defenseman.”

Julien would probably provide the same response on this subject that he did back in last year’s playoffs:

“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 …”

If nothing else, the 37-year-old defenseman should be fresher than previous postseason runs. He averaged a playoff career-high 29:32 minutes per night in Boston’s run to the championship round last year, but he’s being used more conservatively so far in this postseason. He’s logging just under 26 minutes per night (25:53), well below his career 26:57 average in the playoffs.

Then again, maybe that means that Boston is a little concerned about the “Big Z’s” fatigue levels. (Of course, it could also have a lot to do with the emergence of young defensemen such as Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton.)

Either way, the Bruins probably aren’t sweating it and might even get a little bulletin board material out of the deal.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.

Canucks say Markstrom (hamstring) out another week — could it be longer?

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Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.

With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.

Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.

It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.

Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.