Zdeno Chara sat at his double-wide locker, a double-wide man beaten down by some doubly bad plays, doubly bad luck and, it would not be surprising to learn later, some doubly bad injuries.
Z-man is often the man, and always the X factor, for the Bruins, a smothering defender who when attacked, as the Chicago Blackhawks threatened to do after Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, normally responds in a way that quickly disabuses his attackers of the notion that this is a wise course of action.
But that is exactly what Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews promised after his team fell behind 2-1 to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals and, frankly, that’s exactly what they did to the tune of Chara being on the ice for 10 of Chicago’s final 12 goals as it stormed to three straight wins and the Stanley Cup, the final ignominious moments being the most jarring.

After taking a 2-1 third-period lead last night at the Garden in Game 6, the Bruins seemed headed back to Chicago for a Game 7 showdown tomorrow night. You could feel it in the building as the Garden crowd urged the Bruins on, and you could feel it as they renewed their efforts to force one more game out of their broken bodies. Then, after a night of repeatedly missed chances by the Bruins, Chicago scored twice in 17 seconds to bring the season to a stunning end, 3-2.
In the second period, Chara had failed to successfully execute his familiar pincher movement along the boards that he’d done so many times before, and the puck scooted by him. Down the ice the Blackhawks thundered, Toews, of all people, finally putting the puck between goalie Tuukka Rask’s legs to tie the game at 1.