Zdeno Chara said he's aiming to play when the Boston Bruins open their season at the Dallas Stars on Oct. 3 but there are hurdles to overcome.
The 42-year-old defenseman said Friday he is in the recovery process after he sustained multiple fractures in his jaw when he was hit by a puck off the stick of St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 3. He also had an elbow procedure this offseason.
Asked by the Boston Globe if will be able to play in the Bruins season opener, the Bruins captain said, "I think I should be. But it's a process of making sure there are no setbacks or any discomfort at this point."
In a video posted on the Bruins website, Chara discussed his recuperation.
"I think everything has been pretty much postponed by about six, seven weeks with all the surgeries I had and the rehab I had to go through," he said. "I'm still recovering, still working on being at full strength, so it's still kind of going on, the process of getting stronger and healthier."
Chara played the last three games of the Final wearing a plastic face shield. He said at the time he needed two plates, along with wires and screws, to repair the injury. Boston lost the series in seven games.
"I think after the season was over, it took me another three and a half, four weeks until I was able to start to eat normally and chew," he said, "so that took some time to heal."
Chara is part of a veteran Bruins core that includes centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, forward Brad Marchand and goalie Tuukka Rask, that hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 2011 and lost the Final in 2013. He said the challenge of preparing for a new season, especially after coming within one win of a championship, won't be foreign to him and many of his teammates.
"I think a whole bunch of us … have been through this before," Chara said. "Obviously it's one of those things that you can't avoid or ignore, but you've got to do best what you can to get ready, especially mentally, to get excited for another season."