BOSTON– Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will make his preseason debut tonight after suffering a contusion on his leg earlier this week.
Chara took the ice and didn’t look the least bit uncomfortable, nor did he favor his leg at all during the team’s hour long morning skate.
“I’m very glad it wasn’t something that you’d have to worry when it does happen and I was pleased that it wasn’t as bad as it looked,” Chara said in regards to his contusion. “We took all the necessary steps to make sure it wasn’t something major.
“Icing and doing a little bit of other things to make sure the swelling goes down and pain is a factor I can handle, but as far as the full range of motion, that’s the key.”
Chara will be take hold of the defensive end along with the old veterans and a couple of the younger guys.
Steven Kampfer will make his way back onto the TD Garden ice after playing on and off the team last year, while Matt Bartkowski and Zach McKelvie will also take responsibilities on the defense.
According to Chara, these preseason games are not only a way to get the blood flowing back into your legs, but it’s an opportunity for both rookies and veterans alike to watch each other and learn from mistakes as well as take in the good things people are doing. Mentioning how he used to watch the other guys when he was a rookie, he is cognizant of what he is doing and urges everyone else to do so.
“I remember being in their shoes, and being a 20-year old and even 25, and still 34 and I’m still watching some of the guys and how they play their game and how they react in different situations,” Chara said. “I think they should be, not just myself, but guys they want to watch they should watch and not just from our team, but even around the league. It always helps to see how these guys are thinking on the ice and how they do things differently, so I know personally I was always watching other guys.”
And the rookies especially will have something to watch tonight in the Bruins first home preseason game. This will be the first time the Bruins play on their home ice since Game 6 of the Vancouver final, and you can bet that the crowd is going to show their appreciation.
“I mean, it’s always nice to be playing at home in front of our fans,” Chara said. “I’m sure they are very excited, so we just need to have a good performance.”
On the offensive side of things, fans will finally get a taste of Milan Lucic and David Krejci again. Forward Jared Knight looks like he is favored to play on that first line as well.
Knight along with Zach Hamill and Alexander Khokhlachev will also be making their preseason debut for the Bruins. Though they are younger, Chara has seen them play in training camp and doesn’t expect to say anything to them before the preseason matchup.
“We’ve seen these guys in previous years and we all know each other from the past,” Chara said. “It’s one of those things, if you do see something then yeah you try to help them, but again you’re focusing on your game and try to leave that for coaches or scouts because it would be pretty tough to try and watch every young guy’s game and try to talk to them after every shift. If you see something and have the opportunity to address something then sure, but at the same time you have to play your game and focus on the things you do.”
TIMMY IN NET
According to coach Claude Julien, Tim Thomas will be expected to play in tonight’s matchup against the Islanders. Julien said his plan is to keep Thomas in the whole game if he is feeling well enough for it.
Bruins prospect Zach Hamill turned 23 today, and is scheduled to play in Boston tonight. Hamill will play alongside Daniel Paille and Jamie Arniel.
Game time is 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on BostonBruins.com