Notes: Chara looks better in return to the ice

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Notes: Chara looks better in return to the ice

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

MONTREAL While Zdeno Chara was on the ice for both Montreal goals and looked understandably lethargic while attempting to stop whirling dervish Andrei Kostitsyn in the second period, there was no doubt Chara was a huge difference-maker for the Bruins in their 4-2 victory at the Bell Centre in Game Three.

Charas long shot wide of the net set up Nathan Hortons second goal of the first period, and the 6-foot-9 defenseman soaked 26:20 of ice time against the high-flying Canadiens less than 72 hours after being hospitalized for what the Bruins are calling severe dehydration.

Chara looked fairly hydrated while racking up three hits and three blocked shots along with an assist and a pair of shots on net, and played his usually stalwart role on both the penalty kill and power play.

"We knew the importance of this game, and we approached it that way, said Chara following the game. "I was just happy with the result tonight, and we've got to get ready for the next one.

The big defenseman wouldnt reveal exactly what was bothering him other than to say he wasnt feeling well, and that he felt much better Monday after some rest and proper hydration.

"Obviously, I wasn't feeling well, said Chara. "I tried to play Saturday. We decided not to. Obviously I had another 24 hours to recover, and all day today. I felt much better today.

"I wanted to play in the game before that, but obviously I knew it wouldn't be a smart decision for the team. I was really anxious to be in the lineup tonight.

Perhaps a little bit of the fatigue set in on Chara at points, and that might have played into the difficulty shifting from one leg to the other as Kostitsyn raced around him for Montreals first goal. But that was a brief black mark on a very positive night for Chara returning to the playoffs. Claude Julien paired Chara with Dennis Seidenberg prior to the game, and that seemed to work for both individuals in over 50 minutes of ice time together.

Hes a big part of our hockey club. You can ask anybody and hes not a very fun guy to play against. Hes arguably the strongest guy in the league, and that makes him such a tough matchup said Julien. After the warmup he felt like he could go, so we had him play. We went in deciding we were going to gauge him period by period, and he was really doing well taking in all of the ice time that we were giving him.

We thought it would be a good change for us to pair Chara and Seidenberg. Those are guys that can log a lot of minutes. We thought they could be a really solid pair for us, and they were. Johnny Boychuk played his best game, Andrew Ference was solid and I really thought our D was much better tonight than the first two games.

Bruins hopped on a bus following the game and took the two-hour drive to Lake Placid, New York for practice days on Tuesday and Wednesday. The players seemed to enjoy the idea of getting away from Habs country for a couple of days after a raucous night at the Bell Centre, and Tim Thomas in particular was really excited about checking out the setting for the 1980 US hockey team Miracle on Ice.

I think it's a good idea to just kind of get away, relax, a little bit more quiet environment, and for myself personally I'll be happy to look around and see a lot of the things from the 1980 Olympics," said Thomas, who captured a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with Team USA.

Bruins defenseman Shane Hnidy and center Tyler Seguin were the healthy scratches for the Bruins after taking part in the pregame warm-up at the Bell Centre. Hnidy played in Zdeno Charas absence during Game 2 on Saturday night.

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

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


 

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre