(Reuters) - Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will be out four-to-six weeks with a left knee injury that deals a crushing blow to the team's defense, the National Hockey League team said on Friday.
The towering 6-foot-9 Slovak, who logs more ice time than any other Bruin, collided with New York Islanders captain John Tavares midway through the first period of Thursday's game. He returned for one more shift before leaving the game.
"This is completely different, separate, isolated from the other ligaments that are more critical in the maneuvering of the knee, so good news is, it's isolated to that ligament," Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters.
"Bad news is he's out four-to-six weeks. Might be a little earlier than four weeks, but a conservative time frame would be four-to-six-weeks."
Drafted in the third round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders, Chara is a six-time All-Star who was named the league's top defenseman in 2009 and helped lead Boston to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
The loss of Chara, who has one of NHL's hardest shots and is the backbone of the Bruins defense will affect every aspect of the team's game.
"Well, it's obviously a blow," said Chiarelli. "He's one of the premier defensemen in the league, but I'd rather have it four-to-six weeks than four-to-six months."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Gene Cherry)