Chara returns against the Flyers

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Chara returns against the Flyers

PHILADELPHIA Zdeno Chara has proven once again that hes more machine than man.
One week after suffering a left knee injury that looked fairly serious in nature, Chara is returning to the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center for a game against the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers. Claude Julien said there was no hesitation in placing the 6-foot-9 defenseman back into the lineup, and that things werent being pushed despite Charas noted desire to avoid missing games.

Chara's presence became an automatic when the Bruins announced Friday nightthey were sending Steve Kampfer and Jordan Caron to Providence for some "knock the rust off" games this weekend.

Hes fine obviously. We wouldnt be taking the risk if he wasnt. Yesterdays practice went well and after we got here in Philly we checked in with him after the flight and he was great, said Julien. So hes been cleared to play and hes ready to jump back into the lineup.

The Bruins havent been the picture of defensive excellence over the last handful of games without Chara, and it was painfully obvious in allowing 90 shots to the Kings and Senators that things need to be tightened up. The Bs coach said it was more about the five-man unit pulling together through the neutral zone to slow down the oppositions attack than it was about installing Chara back into the lineup.

Charas absence may have a little bit to do with it, but not a lot, said Julien. Certainly our team is better than that with the amount of shots given. It wasnt Zdeno as much as it was all of us being much better without the puck.

Were giving teams a lot of space and werent closing the gaps quickly. Its a habit that had crept in before. We dont want to take any credit away from Chara, but we also dont want to give him any more than he deserves also.

Credit or not, there's a nagging sense the Bruins are going to be much better defensively with Charaagainst the Flyers in a marquee Eastern Conference tilt this afternoon.

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.