Zdeno Chara will have a huge honor bestowed himself tomorrow night. He will be the flag bearer for his home country of Slovakia in tomorrow’s Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
However, that means that Boston Bruins will be without their captain for two games, starting tonight in St. Louis as the Bruins take on the Blues. Now, a team is not comprised of one player, so the Bruins should be good for the two games he will miss.
That being said, Chara is a big, no pun intended, part of the Bruins blue line. He plays nearly 25 minutes a game on average so the Bruins will have to replace a sizable amount of playing time around their other defensemen. Add in the fact that Dennis Seidenberg is out for the rest of the seasom, and the Bruins d-core will be quite depleted for the next two games.
Head Coach Claude Julien said this about Chara’s absence from the lineup after their practise yesterday.
“We’re looking forward to seeing those guys with a little more responsibility than when Z’s around… You don’t win hockey games with just one player. We know one player can make a difference. But at the end of the night, when you look at the game, it’s about the whole team.”
The Bruins are holding on to the top spot in the Atlantic Division. If they lose these next two games, that spot will be further in danger if the Tampa Bay Lightning manage to close the gap. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are also clipping at the heals of the Lightning.
These next two games will be very important for the Boston Bruins and they will have to do it without their best defenseman.