Morning sports update: Here’s what Bruce Cassidy had to say about Zdeno Chara’s injury and Game 5 status

"Very uncomfortable."

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara lies on the ice after being hit in the face by the puck during the second period of Game 4. Scott Kane / AP

The Stanley Cup Final is returning to Boston all knotted up.

After getting toasted like ravioli in Game 3, the St. Louis Blues bounced back to even the series at two games apiece with a 4-2 win in Game 4. Despite twice pulling themselves back from one-goal deficits Monday night, the Bruins were unable to muster a third (catch up on the Game 4 highlights here). Now, they’ll have to defend their home ice Thursday night in a pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden.

After an off-day Monday, the Red Sox return to action Tuesday night in Kansas City against the Royals.

Zdeno Chara could ‘barely speak’ after taking a puck to the face. Here’s what Bruce Cassidy said about his status.


For the Bruins, potentially more devastating than the game’s outcome Monday was the additional loss of their captain, Zdeno Chara.

The famously tough 42-year-old defenseman left the game in the second period with blood running from his face after a deflected shot hit him in the mouth. Chara did return to the Bruins bench wearing a full protective cage during the third period, but never reentered the game.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game that Chara’s status for Game 5 is unclear.

“We clearly know he got a puck in the face,” Cassidy told reporters.”Very uncomfortable. Was advised not to return to play.”

Cassidy said that Chara received stitches and is probably due for “some dental work in the near future.” Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo told reporters that Chara could “barely talk,” but wanted to support his teammates on the bench.

“His leadership is on another level,” Carlo said.

According to Cassidy, the Bruins medical staff cleared Chara to return to the bench — but not the ice.

“The conversation was short,” Cassidy added. “He was getting work done, we were going out on the ice. The trainers came to me and said, ‘Done for the night.'”


Chara will be reevaluated when the Bruins return to Boston.

“I can’t say whether he’ll play in Game 5 or not,” Cassidy said. “I have no idea.”

With defenseman Matt Grzelcyk still out injured, Cassidy mentioned four possible replacements for Thursday’s game: Steve Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon, and Jakub Zboril. Kampfer has played in two career playoff games, while Vaakanainen, Lauzon, and Zboril — three rookies — have zero combined playoff experience. Not exactly grizzled veterans, as Cassidy acknowledged during his press conference.

“That’d be the route we’d go,” he said with a shrug.

If Chara does play Thursday, it would be the 21-year veteran’s 180th playoff game.

Trivia: Only one active NHL player has played in more playoff games than Chara. Who is he?

Hint: He’s a member of a Bruins rival (at least for the time being).

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On this day: Exactly 30 years ago, the Red Sox found themselves on the wrong end of one of the biggest comebacks in MLB history — and it all started because of a blister.


In a Sunday afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Sox were up 10-0 in the seventh inning. Mike Smithson, the starting pitcher, had thrown six scoreless innings. But a blister on his right big toe started acting up, forcing him to leave the game in the top of the seventh after giving up two runs. And then things really began to fall apart.

His replacement Bob Stanley, as The Boston Globe described it, “pitched like he had been pulled off a beach in Nantasket following an all day party.” Stanley gave up five runs in less than two innings and was pulled in the eighth.

The Blue Jays scored another run that inning, but the Sox were still well-positioned — up 10-6 with just three outs to go. In came Hall of Fame closer Lee Smith.

Smith did his best imitation of Stanley,” the Globe wrote. After allowing one run and loading the bases, the usually dominant Red Sox reliever gave up a grand slam to Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt.

Despite giving up the massive lead, the Red Sox actually tied up to game in the bottom of the ninth — before losing it for good four innings later when Blue Jays right fielder Junior Felix hit a two-run homer in his seventh at-bat of the game.

“Even if you saw it — and 33,760 people at Fenway yesterday will talk about it for years — you couldn’t believe it,” the Globe wrote afterward. Red Sox manager Joe Morgan called it the worst defeat of his managerial career.


The 10-run comeback amounted to the biggest blown lead in Red Sox history. Ironically, the ignominious feat wouldn’t be matched for another… four days — when the Philadelphia Phillies came back from 10-0 to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. 1989 was weird.

Daily highlight: Even in defeat, Bruins fans should appreciate a rare Brandon Carlo goal — his first ever in the playoffs.

Trivia answer: Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau (191)