By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Zdeno Chara should know later today whether he'll get the call to play in the raucous Bell Centre on Monday night as the Bruins play back-to-back preseason games against the rival Montreal Canadiens.
The first game will be in Brad Marchand's hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday night. The second will be on Monday night at the Bell Centre, home of the Habs and their lunatic fringe fans. And when we say lunatic fringe, we mean that in the nicest way possible.
It's doubtful that Benoit Pouliot will be in the lineup against the Habs in Montreal on Monday, and Chara isn't expected to play in the Bell Centre rink that has deemed him public enemy No. 1 after last year's stanchion hit with Max Pacioretty. The late season collision with the turnbuckle left Pacioretty with a broken vertebrae and a severe concussion, and left raging Canadiens fans to look into pressing criminal charges against the B's captain.
With all of that still swirling around in the bubbling hockey cauldron that is Montreal, Chara may get a pass on skating in the game. But the 6-foot-9 defenseman isn't afraid of much, and he said after Saturday's practice at TD Garden that he's just as soon to play against the Habs on their home ice.
It really doesn't matter to me where I play. It's all the same. They're going to do what they're going to do, said Chara, when asked if he had any apprehension about playing a preseason game at the Bell Centre after last year's wild season series against the Canadiens. I know that I did nothing wrong. I'll always play the same way and that's not going to change. I play hard and I play clean. I'll do that if I play there, or anywhere else.
There were times last season when it seemed the Pacioretty incident was wearing on Chara mentally and physically, but it looks and sounds like the defenseman has definitively turned the page on the incident. That's a good thing for the Black and Gold considering all of the seasonal and playoff battles that may be looming against their fiercest hockey rivals.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.
*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.
*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.
*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.
*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.
*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.
*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.
*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.