After having surgery in June on his jaw and elbow, Zdeno Chara said he may not be in the lineup for Game 1 of his 22nd NHL season.
“I’m not sure,” the Bruins captain said Friday, speaking after a preseason skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
“I think I should be, but it’s a process of making sure there are no setbacks or any discomfort.”
A deflected puck in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final broke Chara’s jaw, and he needed to have plates and screws inserted, though he wound up missing only one period of action in the series. After the season, he also had surgery to remove loose bodies in his elbow.
At Friday’s captain’s practice, he took wrist shots and one-timers and skated during drills, but he did not join a large group of teammates for a lighthearted scrimmage at the end.
Chara, well-known for his strict training and dietary regimen, said he couldn’t eat normally again until nearly four weeks after the jaw surgery. His typical summer work was postponed by “six, seven weeks, with all the surgeries I had and all the rehab I had to go through,” he said. “I’m still recovering, still working at being full strength.”
Chara, who will turn 43 next March 18, logged the lowest ice time (21:05) and point total (5-9—14) of his career since his early stint with the Islanders. MCL surgery in November cut his workload to 62 games, his lowest total since 1998-99.
Like the rest of his teammates, he still seems to be grappling with the way last year ended. As usual, he prefers to look forward.
“Life is too short to kill yourself over something that when you look back you think that it has meaning, but it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
The Bruins open the season Oct. 3 at Dallas.
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David Backes, who was rumored to be dealing with an unknown ailment after the season, participated in Friday’s session. He was also at Wednesday’s workout . . . Teammates David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen, absent from Wednesday’s session, joined the on-ice contingent Friday . . . Patrice Bergeron, recovering from a groin issue, Joakim Nordstrom (foot), and Matt Grzelcyk worked out with skills coach Kim Brandvold after the main group departed.
Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports.