Chara practices despite the pain

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Chara practices despite the pain

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- There is little wonder why Zdeno Chara is the captain of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

Chara flew to Slovakia earlier this week to attend the funeral services for good friend Pavol Demitra after the standout former Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks scorer was among the people killed in the KHL Lokomotiv plane crash in Russia.

But the 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman also made certain he flew immediately back on Friday and arrived in Boston during the early morning hours of Saturday morning. Chara swallowed his still fresh emotions of hurt and loss, and got back to work on the ice Saturday during the first day of Bs training camp along with the rest of the players.

Chara was helping out youngsters like Dougie Hamilton and setting the perfect Black and Gold example despite an extremely heavy heart.

The exhaustion was clear on Charas face once practice was over, and the anguish was clear in his voice while on the verge of tears recalling the Slovakian services for Demitra. For a player that achieved the pinnacle of winning a Stanley Cup for his Bruins team back in June, its been an unwanted emotional roller coaster for the stoic defenseman.

Im tired . . . Im exhausted. But at least Im going to get a good nights sleep tonight, said Chara. I wanted to practice today obviously. I dont want to miss any days. If I did it wouldnt have been a big deal. It would have been for a good reason.

This summer has been a really crazy summer. It has been a summer of the high of the highs and the low of the lows. Obviously were going to miss all those guys and its very unfortunate. Its a big tragedy. It was a really weird summer. Mixed emotions but we have to move on . . . we have to move on.

Its apparent that the loss of his neighbor has understandably worn on Chara over the last week, and there might not be any real closure anytime soon. Demitra and his family were among the small circle of friends and relatives invites to Charas Cup party in Trencin over the summer, and the loss hit too close to home for the towering defenseman.

He was my neighbor and we shared a lot of great moments and stories together, Chara said. Its very sad you know. Obviously you lose a guy like that and its not easy.

It does, Chara said of training camp getting his mind off his loss. You have to stay busy, go about your business and do your job . . . Sorry guys. Its a tough loss.

While Chara will certainly benefit from a return to the routine of training camp, coach Claude Julien said hed allow his stalwart defenseman a wide berth to operate from with so much upheaval over the last few weeks.

I would have been willing to give him that time off if he wanted it, but he really wanted to go on the ice today for a bunch of reasons, said Julien. Hes got new equipment, he takes his job as a leader very seriously and he felt it would be good for him to get a good little workout in.

He looked tired and he told me that he was. Just the fact that he came out was nice to see. He showed a great example today of guy thats dedicated despite everything hes been through in the last week or so. He lost a pretty good friend that he was close to and I think emotionally it took a toll on him this past week. This is training camp and its probably a good time to give him a little space and allow him to work his way back into feeling good.

It may take a few days or weeks before Chara is truly feeling good, but getting back with his team on Saturday was a step in the right direction for the Slovakian strongman.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

With free agency just around the corner, the Bruins have officially cut ties with former first-round pick and last bastion of the Tyler Seguin trade, Joe Morrow.

The 24-year-old Edmonton native arrived in Boston along with Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser in exchange for Seguin when he was shipped to Dallas, and now all of those players have moved on from Boston as well. Boston does still carry Jimmy Hayes on their roster, a player traded from Florida in exchange for Smith, as a last remnant of the Seguin deal, but it isn't expected to be too long before Hayes moves on from Boston as well.  

The B’s announced on Monday afternoon that they hadn’t extended a qualifying offer to Morrow, as well as P-Bruins power forward Colton Hargrove, as a restricted free agent, and that both B’s youngsters were now free to sign with any of the 30 NHL teams as free agents.

The Bruins extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents in Noel Acciari, Linus Arnesson, Austin Czarnik, Zane McIntyre, David Pastrnak, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner and Malcolm Subban, and will retain the associated team rights with all of those players. Negotiations are ongoing between the Bruins and Pastrnak continue over a long term deal that would put him in the same $6 million plus per season level as teammate Brad Marchand, but one source with knowledge of the negotiations indicated it’s “not close” to being a done deal.

Some RFA’s like Spooner and Subban might not necessarily fit into the long term plan for the Black and Gold, but they need to maintain their rights if they hope to trade them as valued assets down the line.

Morrow never put together the talent that made him a former first-round pick while he was in Boston, and totaled just one assist in 17 games for the B’s before playing well in five playoff games after getting pushed into duty due to injuries. In all Morrow finished with two goals and nine points along with a minus-8 rating in 65 games over three seasons in Boston, but could never string together an extended run of consistent play at the NHL level.

With the Bruins in the market to bring on another left-shot defenseman into the Boston fold this summer, it was pretty clear that the time had come to move on from Morrow while allowing him to potentially develop as an NHL D-man elsewhere.