According to TSN’s Aaron Ward, Bruins captain and top defenseman Zdeno Chara is out 4-6 weeks with a left knee injury.
Bruins Zdeno Chara suspected left knee ligament injury.Expected out 4-6 weeks at which time they'll evaluate need for surgery or not. #TSN
— Aaron Ward (@TSNAaronWard) October 24, 2014
Many speculate a first period hit on Islanders captain John Tavares that saw a knee-on-knee collision was the cause of the injury, though no official confirmation has come from the Bruins.
The 6-foot-9 defenseman played another shift after throwing the hit, but left the ice midway through the first period and did not return for the rest of the game. The torn ligament will see him out for the aforementioned 4-6 weeks, at the end of which he will be evaluated for surgery.
The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver reported that Providence defensemen Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow have been recalled from Providence, an even bigger clue that Chara’s injury is serious, despite the fact that the Bruins have not officially announced anything.
Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow recalled from @AHLBruins and will be in Boston for practice this morning.
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) October 24, 2014
A Chara-less Bruins is somewhat of a scary thought, especially with the lack of defensive depth that this team currently has. The team has improved over the last few games, but we still haven’t seen a solid 60 minutes of hockey from them. There is trouble in two very concerning areas: putting the puck in the back of the net, and clearing it from their defensive zone.
Chara’s absence means the defensive pairs will most likely be as followed: Seidenberg-Hamilton, Krug-McQuaid, Bartkowski-Trotman/Morrow. Though all signs point to the fact that Chara’s injury is not ACL-related (given the amount of time he is reported to be out), the injury will put a huge amount of pressure on the rest of the team. Defensive breakdowns have haunted the defense for most of the start of the season, and without Chara, they must double their effort to prevent these breakdowns from happening.
Perhaps the most pressure lays squarely on the shoulders of 21-year-old Dougie Hamilton, who is the other half of the team’s top two defensive pairing. The 2014-15 season was slated to be Hamilton’s breakout year, and if he plays as smartly as he is capable of, these predictions could have some truth to them. Hamilton is a good defenseman, and if he plays better than he has been, he could shine in the wake of Chara’s absence.
We will also have to see an increase in production from the forwards. Their third line has been their best line so far this season. Chris Kelly extended his point streak two five games last night with a goal in the third period that seemed to light a fire under the Bruins for the rest of the period. More production from Bergeron and Krejci’s line would be ideal, and while it is still the start of the season, Chara’s injury has upped the ante for offensive production in a major way.
One thing remains certain: without Chara, winning games will take a group effort. They have one simple task in the weeks ahead: play better hockey.
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