Boston Bruins: 3 Key Players and Their Out-of-Character Struggles

Boston Bruins (Photo by Andre/Ringuette/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Andre/Ringuette/Getty Images) /
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Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara #33 (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara #33 (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

Zdeno Chara

The captain has struggled, in fairness, for a longer time than just these round-robin games. He’s in his forties and it’s starting to show, especially against teams with a bit of pace to their game.

Chara is rocking a meagre 38.10% Corsi For in his thirty minutes of even-strength ice time during the round-robin tournament. Simply put, he wasn’t able to get his stick on the puck against either Tampa Bay or Philadelphia.

Of course, Zdeno Chara isn’t the puck carrier in his defensive pairing with Charlie McAvoy. He is there or his size, his reach and the intimidation factor.

It’s just unfortunate that him and his partner McAvoy rock the second worst Expected Goals Against at even-strength in the two games thus far with a nasty 1.42 expected per game. David Krejci is the only player doing worse at 1.6 expected goals per game.

Now you can put a lot of this on his age and perhaps he is genuinely not playing like this round-robin tournament means anything.

We saw Zdeno Chara put his body on the line last season, ensuring we went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final despite a puck destroying his jaw en-route and spending at least two games only eating his pre-game meal through a straw.

His poor form thus far could simply that he is lacking game fitness and given his years, he likely needs more than a couple of warm-up fixtures to find his sweet spot conditioning-wise.

He has been blocking shots, he has been dishing a few hits and he has an assist to his name at even-strength; not bad considering how few goals the Bruins have managed to score. There is still plenty of compete left in him yet.

Bruce Cassidy, however, would be wise to limit his minutes somewhat when we enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs proper. He needs more time to get his wheels, which even when they’re going these days, aren’t going at great speed.