BOSTON - Meeting with reporters during the Bruins' end-of-season media availability, Zdeno Chara confirmed what had been widely reported during the Stanley Cup Final: he suffered multiple fractures to his jaw after taking a deflected puck to the face during Game 4 against the Blues.
Chara missed only the third period of that game, before returning for Game 5 donning a full shield on his helmet. The 42-year-old, who said his recovery time is five to six weeks, needed surgery to have his jaw reinforced with two plates, wires, and screws.
"It was just an amazing job," said Chara, who added that he wanted to come back in Game 4 but had to respect the direction of team doctors. "They were able to put together [a plan] in a quick turnaround of 36 hours from the end of the [Game 4] and the beginning of Game 5…it's one of those things that I think I'm able to tolerate pain.
"I was able to just focus on the game and what was ahead of us. We have to accept that the game and sports brings some pain and the sacrifices you have to be willing to accept."
Video: Chara discusses jaw injury, playoffs
Boston's captain acknowledged that it was difficult to consume any food in the days following the injury, but he managed to get enough nutrition with guidance of the team's medical and training staffs.
"Shortly after it's tough. You don't feel much," said Chara, who will have the wires removed in the coming weeks. "You're kind of going through some limitations. You cannot chew much. It was pretty much a liquid diet the whole time, the next two days. That was kind of challenging. But we managed. We did what we could to make everything work and get ready.
"After that, you're trying to find ways to get small pieces of food in you and maintaining the nutrition part of it as best as you can."
Chara also said that he went through a few MRIs and scans for some additional ailments and is awaiting the results to see if further procedures are needed.
"I'm waiting to see what else is gonna be needed for this offseason," said Chara. "It was kind of one of those playoff runs that a few things started to bother me."
A Brutal Year
For Kevan Miller, the 2018-19 season is one he would prefer to forget. The blue liner missed the playoffs because of a broken kneecap suffered in the penultimate game of the regular season against Minnesota. Miller needed surgery to repair the vertical break, causing him to miss the first three rounds of the postseason.
Miller was nearing a return during the Eastern Conference Final, but re-fractured the kneecap during an off-ice workout - this time horizontally - ending any hopes of getting back on the ice. The 31-year-old once again required surgery and will be on crutches for another three weeks. He hopes to be ready for the start of next season.
"I would do it all again to play in the Finals," said Miller. "It hurts for sure…it's something that doesn't sit well…it was a series that I think I could have helped this group out a lot."
The veteran defenseman also suffered a broken hand, a fractured larynx, and a torn oblique muscle over the course of the regular season, limiting him to a career-low 39 games.
"I don't think frustrating really does it justice, to be honest with you," said Miller. "When you put it all down on paper, there's not one thing I could have done different. Couldn't have trained harder, couldn't have been more mobile, couldn't have done anything to prevent that."
Video: Miller discusses injury-filled season
The Full Gamut
Chara and Miller were not the only players to suffer injuries over the course of the postseason. Here is a rundown of what was revealed during Breakup Day:
Noel Acciari | Fractured sternum, suffered against Columbus
"It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you don't wanna miss that. You don't know the next time you'll be there," said Acciari, who was also donning a walking boot on his right foot after blocking a shot with his right foot in Game 7.
"I just got hit weird and kind of folded in. Took care of it quick and was able to bounce back and be ready to go when the team needed [me]."
Patrice Bergeron | Groin injury, suffered in Game 4 vs. Carolina
"Just gonna be rest. I just needed more time to heal and to rest, we'll do that and be back in the gym after that," said Bergeron, who added that he won't need surgery. "With the break it helped, but it came back right away in Game 1 [of the Stanley Cup Final]."
Video: Bergeron discusses talking lessons from Final
Matt Grzelcyk | Concussion, suffered in Game 2 vs. St. Louis
"I feel OK," said Grzelcyk. "It was nice to get back and be able to join the team…take some time off and make sure I'm OK for my head…during the game it was tough, but I hadn't played in two weeks, so it was tough to jump back in to Stanley Cup action. My head feels fine."
Brad Marchand | Abdominal, groin injuries; sprained hand aggravated in SCF scrimmage
"Nothing that was too bad," said Marchand. "I just sprained [the hand], sprained it early on. Then I did it again in that intrasquad game. But it wasn't bad, it was all right."
Video: Marchy discusses the tough end to season
John Moore | Broken humerus, suffered in TB late in regular season
"I broke my humerus and I blew out my shoulder," said Moore, who faces a four to six month recovery after surgery. "It's something that the precedent is set here in terms of culture. I tried to do everything I could to be available for the guys. The silver lining is I was able to help them when I was called upon.
"I was really limited in terms of how useful [I could be]. I could barely hold a stick with two hands. Credit to the training staff and the doctors for getting it to where I could even play."
David Pastrnak | Re-aggravated thumb injury vs. Columbus
"My thumb didn't feel the same way," said Pastrnak, who initially injured his right thumb after a fall in February. "Got hit in the second round. Was a little battling. Was all right, but definitely didn't feel the same way as before…it wasn't anything major.
"When you come back from injury, the motion is always a bit different. Just had to find out the other way...I don't think [my shot] was a matter of the thumb."
*Chris Wagner was not at breakup day, but suffered an undisclosed right arm injury while blocking a shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. He resumed skating before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final and took warmups before Game 7