Brad Marchand, like anyone else who’s ever played alongside Zdeno Chara, can’t help but marvel at the Boston Bruins captain’s toughness.
Chara, who is reportedly dealing with a broken jaw, was on the ice for morning skate Thursday ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. His return to the ice comes just three days after he took a puck to the face in the Bruins’ Game 4 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
B’s coach Bruce Cassidy labeled Chara a game-time decision, but if the big defenseman is skating, there’s obviously a chance he plays. Doing so, however, will require an unrelatable amount of toughness and pain tolerance, something that Marchand can’t help but admire when watching his veteran teammate try to give it a go.
“He’s an incredibly tough man,” Marchand told reporters Thursday after the Bruins’ morning skate. “He’s willing to play through anything, it just shows much character with what he’s been through. … There’s a reason why he’s still playing the game, why he’s a Hall of Fame player. He’s willing to do anything, put his body through anything to win.”
Chara’s toughness and willingness to do whatever it takes to win isn’t anything new, though.
“I think it was long before, it came in long before when he was with this team. It’s just ingrained in him,” Marchand said. ” … He was brought up as a tough, hard-working person, very respectful. So it doesn’t surprise me — it doesn’t surprise anyone — to see him out there.
“He wants to win more than anything.”
If doctors give him the green light, Chara will get his latest chance to prove that point Thursday night at TD Garden.