Saturday, April 16, 2011 Updated: April 17, 3:36 PM ET
Claude Julien defends Zdeno Chara
By James Murphy ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Though he tried one more time to see if he could play in Game 2 by skating in pregame warm-ups Saturday, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara just couldn't overcome the symptoms of what a Bruins source told ESPNBoston.com was a "vicious stomach virus."
Chara was not in lineup for the Bruins' 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens that put them down 2-0 in the series, and afterward Boston coach Claude Julien took offense to media and fan speculation that Chara could've played and was letting his team down.
"You weren't here this morning, but obviously that's one of the situations and we're not going to comment any further than that," Julien said. "Still, and I know that he's been beat up on a little bit with some of you media that think you know better than anybody else, but there was no way he could play. So anything else, it's disappointing to see people making comments. And you're going to say, 'Well, we don't know the whole thing.' Well, I think if he could have played, he would have played tonight. He tried his best and he couldn't play. So, [it's] disappointing that people would even question this guy for what he is and what he's done."
Julien credited Chara for even trying to play in the condition he was in.
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"He deserves so much credit for what he did tonight, coming to the rink and going out there for a warm-up," Julien said. "He came off the ice and he was sweaty, he was dizzy, and there was no way in the world that we could have used him tonight ... absolutely no way. The doctors told us the same thing. I spoke to him and even attempting to come was courageous on his part, but there was absolutely no way that he could have played tonight. It's unfortunate; we missed him. Certainly he did the best he could to even try. To be honest with you, it wasn't even close."
According to Julien, Chara is day to day and his status for Game 3 in Montreal on Monday is uncertain. The coach said Sunday that Chara would travel with the team to Montreal.
"No further update on Zdeno," Julien said Sunday. "He's been in touch with our doctors and our medical staff and he will be traveling with the team. So that's basically all I'm going to say about that."
But right now, that is the least of the Bruins' problems in the coach's and players' eyes. While Julien and his players acknowledged the void the loss of Norris Trophy candidate left, they all agreed it was their job to step up in Chara's absence, and with or without him, the hockey they're playing isn't going to get the job done.
"Well, number one you can't say that you didn't miss Chara," Julien said. "He's one of the best defensemen in the league and when you lose a guy like that it leaves you with a big hole. Having said that, I still think our D's are capable of handling themselves and can definitely be better. And those costly goals are what we're talking about. They have to make the other team earn their goals and I don't think that was the case tonight. We certainly have to get better in regards to that and those kinds of mistakes are the type we can't keep making."
Veteran winger Mark Recchi, who assisted on Patrice Bergeron's second-period goal, agreed with Julien.
"Obviously he's our captain, he's our leader, but there are no excuses for that," Recchi said of his team's performance in Chara's absence. "We didn't play like we can, we weren't composed tonight and we didn't play the proper way. You have to give [the Canadiens] some credit. Every turnover we made they put it in the net. We have to regroup here and we will.
"We're not going to quit as a team here. We believe in each other and I think the coaching staff will make some adjustments. And we have to go on the road and do the same thing they did to us. We're going to be there and we're not going to quit and we're going to be ready to play Monday."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com contributed to this report.