As the Bruins held their final practice in anticipation of the 2015-16 season Wednesday at TD Garden, Zdeno Chara may have taken a step closer to being game-ready.
Chara was present as the Bruins practiced the power play prior to practice, switching off with Zach Trotman on the point of Boston’s second unit. During one of the first unit’s turns, Chara took a pair of light slap shots against the boards, marking the first time he’d been seen taking slap shots since suffering his upper-body injury on Sept. 24. Overall, the day was another step in the right direction for the Bruins and their captain as the B’s prepare to open the season against the Jets on Thursday.
“I was just focusing on having a good practice today,” Chara said. “That went well, so again, we’re going to be looking towards tomorrow to have a better feeling and better knowledge.”
Chara danced around the subject when asked about his comfort with slap shots, responding that he was “just doing the drills that we had been told to do.” He was also somewhat equivocal on the subject of whether he still needs to be medically cleared to play.
The Bruins had eight defensemen practice Wednesday, seven of whom are on the active roster given that Chara is on injured reserve. Based on Wednesday’s practice, it would appear Colin Miller could be the odd man out if Chara doesn’t play. Miller, whose skill set makes him a potential power play specialist, did not practice on the power play and was paired with Chara in practice. The lines in Wednesday’s practice were as follows:
The power play units looked as such:
The Bruins’ roster currently stands at 23 players, not counting Chara. If the B’s are to activate him, they would need to send someone down. The Bruins’ roster, as announced by the NHL Wednesday, is as follows:
Matt Beleskey, Patrice Bergeron, Brett Connolly, Loui Eriksson, Jonas Gustafsson, Jimmy Hayes, Matt Irwin, Chris Kelly, Joonas Kemppainen, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Tuukka Rask, Zac Rinaldo, Ryan Spooner, Maxime Talbot, Zach Trotman.
Injured: Zdeno Chara, Seth Griffith, Dennis Seidenberg.