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Will He Play? We'll Wait and See...

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and his status for tonight's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series was the most important topic of conversation during Saturday morning's press availability.

Chara checks Montreal Canadiens right wing Brian Gionta (21) against the boards as they chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
But despite the best efforts of the media in TD Garden, little more was learned about the defenseman's situation after the Bruins initially confirmed that Chara was hospitalized for dehydration on Friday night.

"He got treated for a little bit of dehydration," said Boston Head Coach Claude Julien. "And that’s basically all there is to that.

"Until our medical staff tells me he can’t go, he’s in tonight."

Pressed for further comment, Julien didn't budge, but explained that the decision would be out of his hands.

"That’s basically all I can tell you," added Julien. "I’m certainly not going to be the guy that’s going to be making the final decision -- our medical people are -- but they have yet to tell me he can’t go."

Players from both locker rooms seemed reluctant to believe that the 6-foot-9 Chara -- world renown for his physical fitness and training regimen -- would miss such an important game for so simple a reason.

"I know him real well," said Bruins left wing Milan Lucic. "He's a battler and I'm sure he'll do what he can to be able to get himself ready to play tonight."

"I imagine they're probably pumping him full of fluids trying to get him hydrated," said Canadiens left wing Travis Moen. "I don't think it will affect him too much."

"I don't know if he is out of the lineup," said Boston forward Shawn Thornton, who explained that he had just heard of Chara's condition.

"It's that time of year -- you suck things up," added Thornton. "I'm sure if there's any possibility to play, he'll be in the lineup."

Informed that he might be the tallest man on the ice tonight, Montreal's 6-foot-7 defenseman Hal Gill joked, "Did I grow?"

But then got serious when he added, "We'll play whoever they dress."

Gill's coach echoed his alternate captain's sentiments.

"It doesn’t change anything in our preparation. You don’t control the opposition," said Montreal Head Coach Jacques Martin. "I think we prepare to play the Bruins.

"We know they’re going to come out hard and they’re a good team.

"They’ve had an outstanding season so we’ve got to be prepared to weather the storm," he said.

And the Habs will try to weather the Black & Gold attack with, or without, Chara's thunderous slap shots from the point. However, Julien seemed to slip some hope into the forecast for Saturday night.

"In the playoffs you do what you have to do. I think if it’s up to him, he will definitely play," said Julien in summation.

"The only people that will hold him back are our doctors.

"That’s the type of player you want on your team, and he’s got that attitude," he said.
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