Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he is ready to help them rebound after they failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
Chara, 38, was limited to 63 games because of knee and ankle injuries last season. After an informal skate Monday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., he told CSN New England on Monday that he is healthy heading into the season, his 18th.
"I'm feeling better and that's the most important thing," Chara said. "I didn't do any extreme traveling stuff [during the summer]. I stayed with family and focused on recovering from the injuries I had toward the end of the season."
The 6-foot-9 defenseman sustained a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in October, and a fractured left ankle in April. He had eight goals and 20 points, his second-lowest point total in nine seasons with the Bruins; he had 19 points in 48 games in 2012-13.
The Bruins finished two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second Eastern Conference wild card, which led to changes in the front office and on the roster. General manager Peter Chiarelli was fired and replaced by assistant GM Don Sweeney, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic were traded.
"It's tough to see guys being gone, but we all saw management announce that they were making changes to try and improve the team," Chara said. "The most frequent word that came out of last season was 'inconsistency.' It's what we have to work on; we can't have ups and downs."