Attention every year is given to the idea that a hangover is the biggest obstacle for a defending champion to overcome (when they have been kept mostly together and the expectations remain, that is). But nothing can derail a repeat opportunity like injuries.
That's especially the case when you are talking about a potentially serious injury to Boston's captain and arguably the team's best player not named Tim, Zdeno Chara.
Half-way through the Bruins' win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday, Chara and Jackets forward Antoine Vermette collided in the Bruins' defensive zone. Chara went down to the ice and didn't return in the game.
As you can see from the replay, Chara's knee is the worry after the seemingly innocuous hit. Like most every team in the NHL now, the Bruins didn't elaborate on the injury after the game, calling it simply a lower-body injury.
"I didn't find out whether it's minor, major, anything," coach Claude Julien said after the game. "That's just what I was told after the third.
"I haven't even seen him yet."
Now the question is when can the Bruins expect Chara back? Is it possible he won't miss a game at all?
"It's hard to comment on that until I know the severity," Julien added. "Throughout the season, you're going to have some injuries, and you're going to have to live with them ... no matter what happens."
Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe says that Chara will likely be out for a week or two with a leg injury. It looks like it will be just a momentary scare for Boston.
However long his absence turns out to be, it's too long for the Bruins (unless, you know, he misses no time). Chara is a huge part of what Boston does and he has been solid this season -- as if we expected anything else. He has six goals, which are good enough for second most among NHL defensemen, and he plays nearly half of every game.