BOSTON – Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was hospitalized Friday night due to dehydration, but coach Claude Julien expects the veteran defenseman to be in the lineup for Game 2 against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at TD Garden.
“Until our medical staff tells me he can’t go, he’s in tonight,” said Julien. “Until somebody tells me he can’t go tonight, he’s playing. I’m certainly not going to be the guy making the final decision, our medical people are, but they have yet to tell me that he can’t go.”
The Bruins held an optional skate Saturday morning, and most of the players learned of Chara’s health when they arrived at the Garden.
“I know him real well and he’s a battler,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can to get himself ready to play tonight.”
The Bruins know they need Chara in the lineup.
“He’s a big man who plays big minutes and he does a great job playing the role he does,” added Lucic. “I’ve had the pleasure of playing ever since I’ve been here and he’s a big time player. He’s a character guy and he’s going to do whatever he can to get ready.”
It’s common during the Stanley Cup playoffs that players get dehydrated because of the level of play during games. In fact, players receive treatment between periods, including IVs in order to stay hydrated.
“I’ve seen it, yeah. It’s a part of it. It’s playoffs,” said Bruins defenseman Shane Hnidy, who would play if Chara can’t. “It’s a tough grind and it has been for years. There’s tons of stories guys play through injury, sickness, whatever. Guys gotta find ways to play through it and they always do.”
Julien expects Chara to be in the lineup for the very reason players will do whatever they can to win.
“At this stage of the season you’re definitely going to play through injury,” Julien said. “During the regular season you always take the cautious route, but in the playoffs you do what you have to do. If it’s up to [Chara] he’ll definitely play. The only people who will hold him back are the doctors. Those are the types of players you want on your team and he’s got that attitude.”
If, for some reason, Chara is not given medical clearance, Hnidy is ready to go.
“That’s why I’m here,” he said. “You’ve gotta have that mindset that everyday, regardless of the situation you’re coming in preparing to play.”
The Boston Herald first reported the story Saturday morning.