The circumstances looked pretty good on Saturday, but when the B's took the ice for Game 2 Boston captain Zdeno Chara
wasn't able to play.
|Chara. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
The circumstances look even better for Game 3, but there remains an understandable hint of caution in the comments of Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"Absolutely," answered Julien when asked if the defenseman had improved since he was held out of the lineup over the weekend.
"I think he’s gotten better," he added. "You saw him on the ice this morning and as we speak right now it’s looking good.
"But I can’t stand here right now and say he’s a definite in."
Chara's teammates agreed with their coach.
By their reckoning, the B's big man looked like himself during pregame warmups on Monday morning.
"Who am I to judge him?" joked Bruins wing Shawn Thornton
of the B's all-star defenseman. "He looked fine, so hopefully he's good to go."
"Zee looks great," said B's forward Chris Kelly
. "And we’re happy to have him back.
"Obviously, he’s a big part of this team."
Literally and figuratively, Chara is a huge part of the B's attack. As such, there's no doubt that Chara's absence from Saturday's lineup had an impact on the B's chances of tying the series 1-1.
And there's little doubt that the appearance of Black & Gold number-33 in the Bell Centre will have an impact on tonight's game -- even the acoustics of the Bell Centre will sound different if and when the blueliner takes the ice.
"I don’t know how much louder they can boo him," said Thornton when asked about the reception he expects for Chara should he play.
"Every time he touches the puck 22,000 people booed him here for the four years I’ve been here.
"I don’t expect anything different. He’s used to it...so I’m used to it," he said.
"That doesn’t matter," explained Julien when asked a similar question during his press availability. "I think what matters to us right now is what is at stake in this game.
"No matter what happens you have to play through those things. We’re all aware of that and guys are professional enough.
"And I don’t know if there is a rink Zdeno [Chara] doesn’t get booed in, but certainly not because of what happened, but because of the realization of the impact he has on the game and the difference he can make in game situations," continued Julien. "He’s a big man, he’s a strong guy that we rely on a lot and he’s a big part of our team."