Zdeno Chara’s superhuman tolerance for pain has left more than a lasting impression.
NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin picked the Boston Bruins defenseman’s comeback from a broken jaw during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final as the league’s “most memorable” moment of 2019. Chara sent TD Garden into ecstasy when he appeared for warmups prior to Game 5 of the series against the St. Louis Blues just three days after he suffered multiple fractures to his jaw.
“No one believed Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara would play Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final,” Benjamin wrote Thursday in NHL.com’s year-in-review piece. “The Bruins captain had a facial injury, likely a broken jaw, and it was doubtful he could play with that. But doctors gave him the green light and Chara, never one to shy away from a challenge, was in the lineup, despite fractures that needed two plates, some wires and screws to hold it all together. It led to an unbelievable ovation that night from the TD Garden crowd, which showed its appreciation for the lengths Chara went for his team and his teammates. Even though the Bruins wouldn’t win the Cup, that moment stuck with me.”
Chara’s jaw injury resonates to this day, as he missed Monday’s game against the Washington Capitals in order to undergo a follow-up procedure. He’s expected to be available Friday night when Boston hosts the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.
Not only was the 42-year-old’s Stanley Cup Final comeback Benjamin’s choice for most notable NHL moment of 2019. It also was our pick as the No. 10 moment of the soon-to-be-finished decade in Boston sports.