(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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck