ST. LOUIS — Zdeno Chara didn’t say much to the media Saturday, but that he said anything at all was a good sign.
Five days after blood gushed onto the ice after a puck deflected into his face — and two days after suiting up, remarkably, for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final — the Boston Bruins‘ captain was able to speak in complete sentences, but it appeared he could not open his mouth fully.
Chara, meeting with reporters in a podium setting alongside teammate Tuukka Rask, had a noticeable scab under the right corner of his mouth. Multiple reports suggest his jaw is broken, but when Chara was asked specifically about his injury Saturday, he did not respond.
The Bruins are in must-win mode as they trail the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Sunday in St. Louis.
Chara said “there is no limitations” for him playing through the injury, which the team has described only as a facial injury.
“Obviously it was a quick turnaround after the game here,” Chara said. “But I felt fine.”
With Chara cleared to play, the Bruins suited up seven defensemen in Game 5. Coach Bruce Cassidy said the team wasn’t sure how much Chara would “be able to play, how much was it going to affect him, his breathing, et cetera.”
Chara, wearing a full shield, played 16 minutes, 42 seconds in the 2-1 loss, mostly alongside his usual defensive partner, Charlie McAvoy. Chara also made four hits, three blocks and took two shots on goal, but he looked uncomfortable at times.
When asked if he could eat food properly, Chara said: “I’m trying to at least eat as much as I can, keep my nutrition up and food up.”
Chara is likely to play again in Game 6. The Bruins were also hoping to have regular top-six defenseman Matt Grzelcyk back in the lineup. Grzelcyk has been out since Game 2 with a concussion, and Cassidy said he was still not yet medically cleared Saturday.