Bruins’ Chara to be a game-time decision

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(UPDATE: Chara will start Game 5 for the Bruins.)

If the Boston Bruins’ medical staff give Zdeno Chara the green light, then the only other hurdle he’ll have to make is his own.

Chara is set to be a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final Thursday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC; live stream), according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“The doctor has to give him the green light, then it’ll be his call. If the doctor doesn’t then he has no say in the matter,” Cassidy said.

If the green light is granted, you’d expect ‘Big Z’ to be out there on home ice at TD Garden for Game 5.

Chara did not meet with the media after the skate but was asked two questions from the Professional Hockey Writers Association and his answers were provided via the Bruins PR staff.

“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.”

When asked about weighing the risk of further injury if he does indeed play, Chara responded, “You don’t think about that. You think about playing. You don’t go into a game thinking you might get hurt.”

Chara’s jaw was reportedly broken when Brayden Schenn‘s shot rode up his stick and into his face in Game 4, relegating the big man to the bench for the entirety of the third period. He took the optional pre-game skate this morning, sporting a face shield.

According to Cassidy, the 42-year-old defenseman was only ruled out for the final period of Game 4 and has been considered “day-to-day” once the possibility of a concussion was ruled out.

“He’s an incredibly tough man. He’s willing to play through anything,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “It just shows so much character in him with what he’s been through. The fact that he’s out there this morning, there’s a reason why he’s still playing the game, 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 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.”

Cassidy said the Bruins could go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen in the game. Fellow defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who hasn’t played since he was drilled from behind by Oskar Sundqvist in Game 1, is also a game-time decision.

The good news on the Grzelcyk front is that he shed the non-contact jersey he wore in yesterday’s practice in Thursday morning’s pre-game skate.

With files from Sean Leahy

Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs Thursday on NBC at 8 p.m. ET (stream here).

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

P.K. Subban gets a warm tribute during his return to Nashville

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It would have been silly for Nashville Predators fans to boo P.K. Subban during his return to “Smashville.”

Subban didn’t choose to be traded from Montreal to Nashville, and he didn’t elect to be sent from Nashville to the New Jersey Devils, either.

Sports fans aren’t always so rational, though. Really, it makes sense: spending so much money, time, and emotional energy on a game isn’t exactly the most rational thing to do. So there was some concern about how Subban would be received, especially since he’s already booed in an honestly uncomfortably large number of NHL arenas already.

Subban and others can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as while not everyone greeted Subban with open arms in as literal a way as Roman Josi did with their hug on Saturday, the team gave Subban a fantastic welcome back tribute video:

Not only does that video include some of Subban’s great moments during his three seasons with the Predators (that Stanley Cup Final appearance, a Norris Trophy win), it also captures some of the off-the-ice qualities that make Subban so fun and entertaining (and make people sometimes get perplexingly, maybe troublingly mad about him). He got up and decided to sing some Johnny Cash upon arriving in Nashville, was a fantastic charitable presence, and was a lot of fun.

(No Listerine was spilled in the making of the ad, but you can’t have it all.)

Anyway, good on the Predators and their fans for welcoming P.K. back.

As a reminder, Montreal Canadiens fans greeted him with love upon his return, too:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Avs’ rising star Cale Makar shaken by hit from Bruins’ Marchand

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The Colorado Avalanche have done a masterful job, for the most part, when it comes to rolling with injury-related punches to key players such as Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. They have to hope that Saturday didn’t send another such haymaker their way.

Rising star defenseman Cale Makar (who just fell under a point per game on Saturday with 28 in 29 contests) was clearly shaken up by a hard hit by Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

It didn’t seem like a heinous hit by Marchand, although there are some who wonder if it was a bit high.

Either way, Makar’s reaction is troubling. You can see him shake his head multiple times following the hit, which gives the impression that he could have suffered a concussion. That doesn’t guarantee that Makar did, but it’s a situation to watch — and one the Avalanche should absolutely be careful about.

The Avalanche ended up beating the Bruins 4-1 on Saturday.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Laila Anderson, bone marrow donor attend Blues game

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If it got a “little dusty” at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Saturday, that’s understandable, because the continued story of Laila Anderson meeting Kenton Felmlee, her bone marrow donor, is sure to make most get a case of heightened allergies.

(Is that a leak from the ceiling? /Sobs)

Anyway, Felmlee was Anderson’s guest during Saturday’s Toronto Maple Leafs – St. Louis Blues game, giving the two another chance to bond, and beyond that, for Anderson to thank Felmlee for helping her in her battle with the rare immune disease HLH.

It’s great stuff, even if the actual Blues game isn’t going so great for St. Louis.

This longer clip from their first meeting earlier this week is worth watching, unless you don’t want people to see you openly weeping’n’stuff:

(Personally, I’d say it’s worth it.)

MORE ON LAILA ANDERSON AND THE BLUES:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Canucks’ Miller scored an awesome water bottle breaker in OT

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Over time, you can become jaded as a sports (and specifically hockey) fan.

Stories about abusive coaches, lockouts, fans booing players for simply no longer being on their teams — it can sap some of the joy of the game.

Thankfully, we have highlights, and I can’t think of many simpler joys than someone scoring a goal and absolutely obliterating the goalie’s water bottle in the process. (As long as no one gets too dehydrated in the making of such films.)

Vancouver Canucks winger J.T. Miller did it one better on Saturday: he scored an important goal that way. Miller presented the ultra-rare OTBBGWG (overtime bottle-breaking game-winning goal) as the Canucks beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-5 in OT.

Bask in the glory of that goal in the video above this post’s headline. Here’s a fun alternate angle:

By the way, Miller continues to be a deadly offensive weapon for the Canucks. This one-goal, one-assist output extended his current point streak to an impressive eight games (5G, 6A for 11 points). Overall, Miller has 31 points in 30 games during his first season in Vancouver.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.