Bruins’ Chara says there are ‘no limitations’ playing through injury


ST. LOUIS — As Zdeno Chara spoke to the media on Saturday the first time since reportedly suffering a broken jaw in Game 4, it was clear talking didn’t come easy for the 42-year-old defenseman.

Keeping his jaw movement to a minimum, Chara said that he felt fine playing 16:42 in the Game 5 defeat to the St. Louis Blues and all signs point to him playing Sunday night without any issues.

“I think there is no limitations,” said Chara, who did not answer when asked if his jaw is broken. “I’m still able to play.”

The biggest issue with Chara’s injury is maintaining nutrition. He said he’s trying to eat as much as he can given his situation and drink plenty of fluids.

Chara was ruled out for the third period of Game 4 after a Brayden Schenn shot saw the puck ride up his stick and hit him in the mouth, but he still wanted to have a presence on the Bruins’ bench during their 7-2 win. Seeing the injury and then seeing him, bubble cage and all, later on as support meant a lot to his teammates.

“He’s our leader. He’s the toughest guy out there,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. “He doesn’t take any games off unless it’s impossible to play. So, it’s an emotional lift to all of us. He’s the backbone of the defense, so it’s a great help for us to have him back there.”


The Bruins have no room for error in the Cup Final and must win the next two games. Chara knows that, and given the stakes it was no surprise to anyone in their dressing room that he did not miss a game.

“That’s what you do this time of year,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy. “His injury is a little more serious than some. He was medically cleared with some warnings, he made the decision to play. Inspirational for us, good player for us. We knew he wouldn’t be 100%. So we’re happy to have him out there but it just speaks a lot to his character and his role to play.”

With Chara back in the lineup for Game 6, the only question on defense for the Bruins is the health of Matt Grzelcyk, who has been out since Game 2 with a concussion. He shed a non-contact jersey in practice this week, but according to Cassidy he’s not been medically cleared yet to play Sunday night.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final will take place Sunday, 8 p.m. ET on NBC (live stream here)

Bruins’ Chara was more than just brave in Game 5
Chara, Dunn join jaw-dropping club of playing through pain
Bruins, Blues in familiar places heading into Game 6


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.