Bruins notebook

Chara is a Norris finalist

Defenseman to be judged against Lidstrom, Weber

All eyes were on Bruins coach Claude Julien yesterday during a chalk talk session in preparation for tonight’s Game 6 meeting against the Canadiens. All eyes were on Bruins coach Claude Julien yesterday during a chalk talk session in preparation for tonight’s Game 6 meeting against the Canadiens. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)
By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / April 26, 2011

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Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara hasn’t regained all of the 10 pounds he lost after a recent virus sent him to Massachusetts General Hospital to be treated for dehydration, but he gained a few more ounces of prestige yesterday when he was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy.

“I’m very humble and very thankful,’’ said Chara, who won his first Norris in 2009. “Especially after you consider how many guys had such a great season — a breakout season. I’m just very thankful that people who did vote recognized the definition of the Norris Trophy award.’’

Chara fits the classic definition of the position, a player whose role it is to keep the opposition from scoring. The Trencin Tower of Power is a 6-foot-9-inch shutdown artist who is out there virtually every time the other team rolls its best attackers over the boards.

“The stats at the end of the year, I think he’s plus-33, and I think that speaks for itself,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “If you’re talking about the Norris and talking about a defenseman that brings a lot, he’s certainly one of them. I don’t think there are many players in this league who will raise their hand and say they really enjoy playing against him.’’

Chara finished runnerup to New Jersey’s Scott Niedermayer in 2004.

This year’s other finalists include Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, a six-time Norris winner, and Nashville’s Shea Weber.

“I just want to help the team as much I can to win,’’ Chara said. “That was always my first thing. I always want to put the team in front of egos or individual goals. To me, that’s the most important thing, and everything else will fall into place.

“I know I’m not the extremely skilled defenseman who’s going to put probably 70 points on the board every year. But I know if I play my game, I give my team a good chance to win hockey games. That’s all I can do.’’

Lidstrom finished the season with 16 goals and 62 points, compared with Chara’s line of 14-30—44. The 25-year-old Weber, whose sizzling slapper ranks with Chara’s power blaster, ended up 16-32—48.

Both the Wings and Predators have advanced to Round 2 of the playoffs.

Chara said he routinely loses 8-12 pounds of water weight during a game but is able to regain it quickly afterward. But his recent bout with a virus, Chara said, has made it difficult to get back to his ideal playing weight. Since missing Game 2 of the series, his play has improved each game but he still isn’t back to peak form.

Focus needed The Bruins tonight are poised to eliminate Les Glorieux for the second time in the last three postseasons, something they haven’t done in more than 20 years.

Their triumphs over the Habs in 1988 and ’90 both times proved stepping stones to the Stanley Cup finals.

“We’re not thinking about Game 7, we’re thinking about Game 6,’’ said Julien, who like any coach in this position would prefer his club not be stretched to the series max. “We realize how important it is to play our best game of the series.’’

Talk of a Game 7, underscored Julien, is “a waste of energy and time.’’

The Bruins have not won a Game 7 since 1994, back when Al “The Planet’’ Iafrate was kicking the Canadiens and taking numbers.

Since then, the Bruins four times have seen their season end in a Game 7, including in 2004 (Montreal), 2008 (Montreal), 2009 (Carolina), and 2010 (Philadelphia).

Quick practice Julien put his charges through a brief workout (35 minutes) at the Garden late yesterday morning and then the club took an early-afternoon charter flight to Montreal . . . Julien on the enigmatic Michael Ryder, who has become a force in the series after struggling through a very underproductive regular season: “These are questions that somehow end up coming my way. And those are actually questions that he should be answering.’’ Ryder potted two goals in Game 4, including the OT winner, and made a Johnny-on-the-spot save, flashing glove and pad at the left post, early in Game 5 when Tim Thomas was down and out because of heavy action around his net . . . All lines and defensive pairings remained the same during the workout. A fifth line, decked out in green sweaters, included Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron, and Jamie Arniel . . . Beyond being Boston’s top point-getter (2-4—6) in the series, Patrice Bergeron also has led the way in shots (20). Only Montreal’s Brian Gionta (23) has more. Bergeron’s average of four pops per night is well above his season pace of 2.64 per game, which led to 211 shots. He also has won an eye-popping 63.9 percent of his faceoffs. After winning 27 of 46 drops in the two games in Montreal, Bergeron won 23 of 35 in Game 5 . . . NESN’s coverage of Saturday night’s 2-1 double overtime win was the third-highest-rated Bruins playoff game in network history, earning a 13.0 rating.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at

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