BOSTON - The Bruins will be without captain Zdeno Chara when they close out their four-game, pre-Christmas homestand on Monday night against the Washington Capitals. The blue liner will undergo a scheduled follow-up procedure to remove the plates and screws in his jaw after an infection developed in recent weeks.
Chara famously suffered a broken jaw during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last June but returned for Game 5 and played the remainder of the series with a reinforced face shield on his helmet.
"The area where the surgery was done got infected, which is kind of rare, but it does happen after six months," Chara said following Sunday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena. "The decision was made to avoid maybe further troubleshooting with that area to basically remove all the plates and screws and clean it up. Pretty much the same [procedure], just instead of putting the plates in, it's gonna be taking the plates out."
With the three-day Christmas break beginning on Tuesday, Chara elected to have the procedure done now in order to limit the amount of time he will be sidelined. The 42-year-old does not expect to miss more than Monday's contest against the Caps, meaning he could be back in the lineup as early as Dec. 27 in Buffalo.
"It's never going to be perfect [timing]," said Chara. "We tried to plan this and obviously we tried to make that decision ahead of time. That's what it is. We tried to take advantage of that little break that we have coming up so it's not too demanding on the body. It worked out to be the last game before the Christmas break."
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Chara said the symptoms of the infection did not include a fever, but he did suffer from some sensitivity around the affected area.
"We treated it, calmed it down and now it's just basically at that point where I think it's stable," said Chara. "But we want to avoid further possible repeat infections. We have to treat it."
With Chara sidelined, John Moore will return to the lineup after a two-game absence with an illness. Moore is likely to slot right into Chara's spot alongside Charlie McAvoy.
"There's six healthy guys, so [Torey] Krug-[Brandon] Carlo stays together," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who also noted there is likely to be a change among the forward group. "If we put Moore up with Charlie, that could be a matchup for bigger bodies.
"We've played [Matt Grzelcyk] with Charlie, so can Grizz handle that with bigger lines or do I leave Grizz and Clifton alone? That will be a decision tomorrow. Today we had Moore practicing with Charlie to get some reps."
Video: Press Room: Bruce Cassidy