Zdeno Chara could ‘barely talk’ after taking puck to mouth but wanted to support teammates on bench

ST. LOUIS (WHDH) — The Boston Bruins were forced to finish Monday night’s 4-2 loss in St. Louis without veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara after he took a puck to the mouth in the second period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Boston’s 42-year-old captain collapsed to the ice when a close-range shot by Brayden Schenn deflected directly off his mouth. Blood could be seen dripping onto the ice as he skated off slowly in pain.

Chara, sporting a full shield on his helmet, stayed on the bench in the third period. He did step on the ice but he wanted to show support for his teammates.

Fellow defenseman Brandon Carlo told reporters after the game that the injury robbed Chara of his ability to communicate.

“It just shows his great leadership. He’s there to support the guys,” Carlo said. “Obviously his mouth has some blood and I don’t know what’s going on in there but he can barely talk and he’s out there supporting us.”

It’s not yet clear if Chara will rejoin the team for Game 5 at TD Garden on Thursday night, according to head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Cassidy told reporters that Chara was “very uncomfortable and advised not to return” by the team’s training staff.

Chara is a plus-12 in the postseason and a plus-53 in 179 career playoff games.

It would be a major blow to the Bruins if the 6-foot-9 defensive stalwart is unable to dress moving forward.

“His leadership is on a whole other level, especially during this final round that I’ve seen,” Carlo said of Chara. “He’s always there for us. He’s been great communicating and just wants to be there to support us.”

Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen, and Jakub Zboril are all options to fill in for Chara.

The exact nature of Chara’s injury has not been made public.

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