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Boston Gamebreaker: Zdeno Chara

by Shawn P. Roarke
Zdeno Chara has not been very good this season. Certainly, he has not played to the level that earned him the Norris Trophy last season.

Chara will be the first to admit that point. Sure a 7-goal, 44-point season is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is not the 19-goal, 50-point season he put up last season. But the real sour note comes when you look at Chara's impact on games this season, compared to last. By his own admission, Chara has been slowed by injuries, a fact that he has not used to explain his downturn.

Chara has played most of the season with a dislocated pinkie, suffered in a November game. It has been in a splint for much of the season and is still not completely healed. He cannot make a fist and his physical presence has been hampered a bit as a result.

"I'm not making excuses," Chara said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming it on [the finger]. It was pretty frustrating. But the trainers did a good job protecting it, and making it as stable as we could. That's what happens when you keep playing with that kind of thing. That's how it heals."

To make matters worse, Chara also is dealing with a broken nose suffered last week when he was struck by the stick of Washington's Alex Semin. Chara has played the last two games of the season with a full shield and it is unclear how long it will remain in place.

But if Chara has proven anything during his dozen years in the NHL, it is that he is a warrior. He will have to be at his snarling, intimidating best this postseason if the Bruins hope to match -- if not better -- last season's run to Game 7 of the second round before a disappointing upset loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Can Chara do it? Know this, Chara will give it his best effort, which is bad news for Boston’s playoff opponents.

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