Published April 16, 2011
BOSTON -- After being treated at the hospital for dehydration Friday night, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara was unable to play in Saturday night's Game 2 at TD Garden.
Clearly, the Boston medical staff ruled the big defenseman out -- coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning that it would be the only way Chara would not be in the lineup.
Chara was in TD Garden Saturday night and took warmups, but was a surprise scratch just a few minutes before game time.
The team announced Saturday morning that Chara was treated at a local hospital for dehydration on Friday, but would not elaborate further. Many of his teammates did not even find out that Chara was hospitalized until they arrived at TD Garden for Saturday's morning skate.
Yet they also believed, to a man, that Chara would be in the lineup Saturday night for Game 2 of the best-of-7 series.
"I'll be surprised if he's not in the lineup," center Patrice Bergeron said.
Shane Hnidy took Chara's spot in the lineup.
Hnidy, 35, was signed as a free agent in February. He trained with the team for close to a month – to get into game shape – and saw action in three games late in the season, after Boston had secured its postseason presence. Hnidy had no points and 2 penalty minutes in those three contests.
In 37 career playoff games, Hnidy has 2 goals, 6 points and 27 penalty minutes.
Chara skated in Friday's morning practice after playing a game-high 25:06 in Thursday's Game 1. He was, not, however, his usual dominating self. Montreal forwards beat him wide with speed in the attacking zone several times, and he lost more puck battles than usual.
Chara's absence is a huge hit to the Bruins, who need to win to avoid heading to Montreal in an 0-2 hole.
Chara plays in all situations and logs the most minutes of any defenseman on the team. His slap shot from the point was Boston's most effective weapon in Game 1, and he is a constant threat in the offensive zone.
In 77 career playoff games, Chara has 7 goals and 20 assists. This regular season, the perennial All-Star had 14 goals and 30 assists.
"He's our leader, he's our captain, he's 6-foot-9, 260 pounds; he's a big presence for us," forward Shawn Thornton said Saturday morning. "He's been one of our best players in the four years I have been here."
Montreal has its own injury issue Saturday night – the Canadiens were forced to scratch forward Andrei Kostitsyn. Coach Jacques Martin said during the morning skate that Kostitsyn would be a game-time decision; he took the pregame skate before being announced as a scratch.