BOSTON (AP) — Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he broke his jaw in multiple places and played the last three games of the Stanley Cup Final with “two plates, some wires and screws” holding it together.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Chara commended the team doctors who put his face back together after he was hit by a deflected puck in the first period of Game 4 of the championship series against the St. Louis Blues.
Chara left the game but returned to play the rest of the series.
“Just being hit by a puck or blocking shots, there’s nothing you can do about that,” he said. “You play the game to put your body out there.”
Two days after losing 4-1 in Game 7 and watching St. Louis celebrate with the Stanley Cup on the Boston ice, the Bruins reported to their workout facility for their wrapup media availability. Chara also confirmed an unspecified lower body injury that kept him out of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against Carolina as a precaution.
“That’s who he is,” Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk said. “It was just one of those things where you want to rally around him and help him out.”
Bruins forward Brad Marchand said he was dealing with issues in his groin and abdomen, and also a sprained hand that he exacerbated during the intrasquad scrimmage scheduled to keep the team fresh during a long layoff after sweeping the Hurricanes.
Defenseman Kevan Miller appeared on crutches to describe the broken kneecap that kept him out for the entire postseason. Patrice Bergeron previously confirmed a groin injury.
But mostly, the Bruins are hurting after getting to the last possible game of the season and falling short.
“You start thinking about ‘what if,'” said Marchand, who was a member of the team that won it all in 2011 and returned to the Cup final two years later. “When you get that taste, when you get that close, it just makes you want it that much more. That makes it that much harder to lose.
“When you know how good it is, getting that taste is a weapon.”
DeBrusk said he has had his family with him, and it has tried to console him since Wednesday night’s loss.
But kind words only go so far.
“People are saying they’re proud of you, but you don’t feel that way at all,” he said. “You get so close to it, and you lose, and you lose on home ice in Game 7. It doesn’t get much more sour than that.”
“Nobody’s going to say anything that’s going to make you feel any better,” said the Bruins forward, who was the team’s leading scorer in the regular season but had just two goals — one of them an empty-netter — in the final. “Even if we win the Cup next year, that isn’t going to make this go away.”