Zdeno Chara will be a Hockey Hall of Famer shortly after his career ends. Now, part of his story will include the toughness he exuded during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at age 42.
At the Boston Bruins’ end-of-season media availability, Chara revealed that he played through multiple jaw fractures during Games Five, Six, and Seven of the championship series.
Chara’s mouth was wired shut, pins were placed in his jaw, and he ate a mostly liquid diet.
Sat on this but this is what I heard about Chara's jaw:
-Broken in 2 places, left and right side of his face
-Right side was separated into 2 parts
-Pins placed in his jaw https://t.co/ygp57zKaDl
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 14, 2019
Chara’s recovery time is expected to be five or six weeks, per the Bruins’ Twitter account.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 14, 2019
“All the nurses that took care of me during the Finals, I much appreciated their help,” Chara said. “I can’t thank them enough to make me able to play and I very much appreciate it. They were able to put together [my jaw], quick turnaround. 36 hours from the end of the game in Game Four to Game Five.”
Chara was asked how he could still play with such a severe injury.
“It’s one of those things, I think I’m able to tolerate pain,” Chara said. “I was able to just focus on the game and what was ahead of us.”
Chara originally broke his jaw after a shot attempt ramped up off his stick and struck him in the side of the face in the second period of Game Four.
Bleeding from the right side of his face, Chara immediately left the ice and was tended to inside the locker room. He returned to the bench for the third period but did not play.
"He can barely talk, and he’s out there supporting us. Just his leadership is on another level."
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) June 4, 2019
“My original plan was to go back in and play,” Chara said. “I wanted to go in very badly. It was still a close game. We were still in a desperate position. Sometimes you have to respect and acknowledge the medical decision is the right decision. In that case, it was. It could have been a lot worse if something else happen to same area. I just wanted to be with the guys. I want to be there to support them. Even though I wasn’t going to get a single shift, I wanted to be there in case we get into a situation where we lose another defenseman or two and at that point I would have gone out. I just wanted to be there and be with the guys and support them any way I could.”
Chara looks to be in severe pain and dying to come out and play at the same time as he sits on the bench! pic.twitter.com/b0HLbCLL8e
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) June 4, 2019
Chara will also have an MRI on a lower-body injury that kept him out of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I think you can be proud of what we’ve done, sometimes those downs make you stronger and I believe this team still have potential to go back to the Finals and get it done,” Chara said after Game Seven choking back tears. “It’s hard to find words. It’s not easy. Sure everyone pictured it differently. We believed it was there for us. That’s sport. You have to take those and move on.”
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