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Bear Essentials: Chara's Importance - Numbers Don't Lie

BOSTON (CBS) - The Boston Bruins have been awfully secretive about Zdeno Chara's knee injury.  There are whispers of a possible December 19th return, but answers remain unclear. From the looks of it, the captain may have suffered a much more serious injury than what it's being made out to be.  Everybody knows that the six-foot-nine captain clearly plays an intricate role in the team's success; any game missed is one too many. What's more intriguing is that the numbers back it up.

Since becoming the captain of the Boston Bruins in 2006, Zdeno Chara has missed a total of 12 games during the regular season. Of those 12 games, the team won only 5 and gained 10 out of a possible 24 points; numbers that clearly demonstrate the defenseman's value.

Furthermore, taking a closer look at the 5 victories, they weren't exactly phenomenal wins. In 2007, the team barely snuck passed the Flyers (4-3), beat Philadelphia in overtime in 2008 (3-2), edged an awful Islanders team in 2009 (6-2), won against a non-contending Carolina team in 2010 (4-2) and barely crept by the Capitals that same year in a shootout (4-3).

At a time when the Boston Bruins are focused on maintaining their dominance and avoiding any skids, Chara's leg injury is exactly what this team does NOT need. The loss puts the defensive system and an aging Tim Thomas in a vulnerable position. If Thomas goes down for any reason, the core of the Bruins system will be shattered.

No one knows, maybe it will never to come to that? Maybe the leg is fine? If it isn't however, Chara's loss will be a major blow to the Black and Gold. Anyone arguing otherwise can simply take a look at the past.

Chara's missed games.

2006-2007 – Missed 2 games.

1. Flyers on Jan 6 (win 4-3)

2. Senators on Jan 9th (lose 5-2)

2007-2008 – Missed 5 games.

1. Rangers on March 9th 2008 (Lose 1-0)

2. Senators on March 11th (Lose 4-1)

3. Tampa Bay on March 13th (Lose 3-1)

4. Flyers on March 15th (Won in OVERTIME 3-2)

5. Capitals on March 16th (Lost 2-1 in shootout)

2008-2009 – Missed 2 games

1. Sabres on April 11th 2009 (Lost 6-1)

2. Islanders on April 12th (Won 6-2)

2009-2010 – Missed 2 games

1. Hurricanes on April 10th (Won 4-2)

2. Capitals on April 11th (Won 4-3 in shootout)

2010-2011 – Missed 1 game

1. Devils on April 10th (Lost 3-2)

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