BOSTON — Captain Zdeno Chara will not be in the Bruins’ opening night lineup on Thursday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
“He’s out,” Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed following Boston’s morning skate.
All signs are still positive, though, in Chara’s recovery from an upper-body sustained during the preseason on Sept. 24.
“It’s getting better every day,” said Julien. “It is. There’s no doubt today [Thursday] he felt better than yesterday [Wednesday], so we’re hoping that it’s going to be sooner than later and that could be next game for all we know.”
Boston will next host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. But first, the Jets are on tap for Thursday’s opener, and the Bruins will make do without their Captain.
“Well, we’ve been through that before,” said Julien. “We dealt with that last year. He was out for a while and you have to deal with those situations and, again, my preoccupation can’t be about what I’m missing, but what I’ve got.”
“And what I’ve got tonight is good enough for us to win a hockey game. All we’ve got to do is go out there and show it.”
"It’s unfortunate," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. "But you know, like I said in training camp, it’s a chance for other guys to step up and show what they’re all about and we have great depth on the defensive side of things. I’m not worried about that tonight."
Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller will be counted on to the lead the back end.
"I have a lot of confidence in them," said Bergeron. "I think they have the experience and also the smarts on the ice to be at the right place, to lead the way back there and I think they’re going to do a great job."
Matt Irwin loos to be making his Bruins debut on the blueline, along with Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Joonas Kemppainen and Zac Rinaldo up front.
Though the 27-year-old Kemppainen has nine years of pro experience in Finland, tonight will make his NHL debut.
Projected Lineup vs. Winnipeg 10/8
Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey—David Krejci—David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes—Ryan Spooner—Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly—Joonas Kemppainen—Zac Rinaldo
Torey Krug—Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow—Kevan Miller
Matt Irwin—Zach Trotman
Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
Projected scratches: Zdeno Chara (IR), Colin Miller, Max Talbot, Tyler Randell