Blog Entry

Coming up short on big Chara

Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:53 pm

No one believes Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara wanted to see Montreal ’s Max Pacioretty carried away on a stretcher.

Certainly not NHL operations VP Mike Murphy, who made the decision on behalf of the league not to suspend Chara received for hitting Pacioretty in a way that left the Canadiens forward with a severe concussion and broken vertebrae.

It wasn’t an easy call to make what with the hanging jury crowd beating a loud drum for serious punishment to be imposed on the Bruins captain.  They saw Chara’s play as reckless and as it was dangerous and they have a point.

Then again, so do the ‘hockey people’, including a host of ex-players who have weighed in and argued the hit was simply a part of a physical game. Their take is that Chara’s five-minute interference penalty and game misconduct was a sufficient price for a generally routine play that had an unfortunate outcome. To go any further in terms of discipline would be to threaten the fundamental nature of the sport.

In other words, the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that the Bruins captain intended to take the Canadiens forward out of the play, and given their personal history, probably with a little more vigor than usual.  The games between these Original 6 and division rival teams have been particularly heated this season, and Pacioretty and Chara have gotten into a couple of altercations already.

In this case, it came late in the second period with the Canadiens leading 4-0 and on their way to avenging an 8-6, brawl-filled loss to Boston a few weeks earlier. Pacioretty had raised the Bruins ire earlier in the game when he took out Dennis Seidenberg with a clean hit, and now he had gained a step on the 6-foot-9  Chara.  That prompted the Bruins defenseman to do what he would normally by trying to ride Pacioretty out along the boards.

Problem was when Chara made contact, he laterally raised his arm and drove Pacioretty face-first into the stanchion.  It was a frightening site that got worse as Pacioretty lay prone and motionless on the ice for several minutes, and the kind of thing that creates bad optics for the league because it tends to get replayed on various news loops.

The reality though is that this type of play happens in almost every game, but was made worse because of where it happened on the ice. Whether or not Chara knew he and his opponent were approaching that post is debatable, but the Bruins defender had to realize he was in front of his own team’s bench and he still didn’t hold up.

That’s not to suggest Chara wanted to injure Pacioretty, but that really shouldn’t matter. He did. And the Canadiens will lose a key player as they try to catch the first-place Bruins while Boston remains at full strength.

Is that fair? Probably not but Murphy said Chara didn’t seem to be targeting the head of the opponent or leave his feet. And Chara’s reputation as a clean player who had no priors on his 13-season record factored in as well.

So a high-profile player escape without any consequence. And at the same time, a league desperate to protect its best players from unnecessary risk, missed an important chance to send a strong message about players taking more responsibility for their actions on the ice.



Category: NHL

Since: Feb 27, 2011
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:19 am

Coming up short on big Chara

Tom- let's pretend for one minute that sports are not just about the game ( because they are not...) and there is an element to them, like money that makes a huge difference. The kid will not be back on the ice- no liability insurance company in the world will touch this kid.... NONE!!!!!! He will be playing in the beer league you play in...
As far as the play- I did not say the play was dirty.. I did not say Chara was dirty- I dare you to find a post where I said any of this. I said- he is in control of his actions. The play had unintended consequences. Unfortunately, it happened. And oh yes, he was called for a penalty (boarding). That penalty had unintended consequences, those were this kid has lost his career. Chara should be suspended. Good luck on your beer league team...

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:34 am

Coming up short on big Chara

no one said he wont be back, are you one of his doctors? and the majority of the players and media are backing Chara, like most normal people are, knowing # 1- Chara is NOT  a dirty player and # 2- had no intent to hurt the kid. ONLY reason he was hurt was cause of the divider. and you and others say Chara knows where he is well Paciroetty does to then, right? So according to you Chara should have just stopped and let him skate down the ice on his merry way? please, like you said its not a beer league, these guys play hard, its a tough sport, things happen. watch the video, there is 1-2 seconds between the time Paciretty touched the puck and Chara checks him....this game is fast. every deensemen in the league does the same thing there, rub the guy out, dont let him by......simply a 2 minute penalty should have been called, sometimes you DONT even see a penalty on plays like that.

Since: Feb 27, 2011
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:00 pm

Coming up short on big Chara

jay, do you actually watch and follow hockey??? what if it was luxury to lose its best players??? Crosby WAS hurt, by a HIT and there was NO suspention. what are you talking about?? Chara had about 1 second to decide to squeeze off a player trying to get by him, no way you have intent to injure in a split second like that, anyone who has played knows its a fast game and any defensemen would have done the same thing there, he didnt even hit him hard, it was just the wrong spot on the ice and a shame this kid got hurt. lets hope he makes it back as soon as possible

Miamitom- I do watch and play hockey and that was my point. You have responsibility for your own actions and Chara has not only a responsibility for his actions, also the results of thise actions. By the way, so does the rest of us. This isn't a beer league, the NHL has probably more talent than it has ever had. They are losing it to crappy hits to the head (like Sidney Crosby) and crap like this. Excuses are made- "well, it's part of hockey". That is ridiculous. You can play hard hitting, great defense without cheap shots and results like the other night. With hockey's stars and talent, they can make a huge dent into the big 3- (baseball. football, and basketball). They really need to protect the players better.  By the way tom, he isn't going to be back- teams carry liability insurance on their players- he will not be covered. This kid's career is over because of stupidity.

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:31 pm

Coming up short on big Chara

haha, yeah my making eight ball spit out the name tanner fawking glass and I rolled with it, keep in mind the sens played with him.....give it some time, players with say how they feel about, the link is from tsn, here ya go

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:49 pm

Coming up short on big Chara

Why should intent have anything to do with it?
c2ways, you keep making this point, which is kind of dumb....of course intent matters.......if what YOU say is the case, what if someone gets tripped, or hooked, which happens 20 times a game and he falls and hits his head, you suspend the guy who tripped or hooked him?? seems dumb. Intent DOES matter

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:45 pm

Coming up short on big Chara

ed you showed me exactly ONE player who said it was dirty and Chara knew what he was doing, all the other quotes you had said they think Chara had NO intent to hurt the me the link for what the Vancouver guy said cause i never saw this. must have been an article you read, or are you making it up?? if you the the majority of the league thinks Chara intended to hurt the guy you are a fool, id say less the 5% think that, IF that much. everything i read and heard from players, coaches and media think no way did Chara show any intent

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:17 am

Coming up short on big Chara

OPinions are out there, I won't include the habs players, but here's a few, including former teammates, like us here, your are going to get mixed reviews, but don't kid yourself that they all thing it was clean

Some of Chara's former teammates in Ottawa and around the NHL were quick to defend the big defencemen.
"I really think it was more bad luck than anything," Senators centre Jason Spezza told the Ottawa Sun. "It's a physical game, but nobody is trying to hurt each other."
"He's pretty honest and pretty physical," added winger Chris Neil. "That's what makes him the defenceman he is. He's pretty physical and he finishes his checks. That's part of the game."
"[Chara's] a great guy; a great teammate," said Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel. "I don't think that he deliberately tried to hurt the guy. I think it's an unfortunate situation where the glass is in the wrong spot."
Toronto head coach Ron Wilson also defended Chara's hit.
"That's just one of those bad luck situations," said Wilson. "Too much attention's going to be drawn on Chara in that situation; I think it was an accident myself."
Not everyone was willing to stand up for Chara however, and some believed that at the very least, he was reckless and used too much force on the play.
"I think most guys try to slow a guy up," said Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn. "You're not going to push him with that kind of force, and most guys aren't as strong as him. It's just an unfortunate play and you hate to see it happen."
"I thought it was a dirty play. I thought he knew exactly what he was doing," said Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Glass. "It's unfortunate that a player got hurt that way."
"I think if you poll 700 NHL players, a good majority are going to say he knows exactly what he was doing and he knows the turnbuckle's there."

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:12 am

Coming up short on big Chara

Why should intent have anything to do with it? As I stated earlier, the league has already set a precedent of suspending players for the outcome and only mitigating the severity of the penalty by considering intent. Nobody thinks Chara had intent to put Pacioretty in the hospital, but his carelessness resulted in it happening and he needs to be held accountable. Everyone has an excuse for why things aren't their fault. There is no continuity with league discipline other than it continuously not being properly applied. Dollars to donuts that if it was Adam McQuaid instead of Zdeno Chara, he would have got a suspension and don't be surprised if the idiots at NHL central now fine Max Pacioretty for criticizing their decision publicly.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:01 am

Coming up short on big Chara

I think i'll go by what former NHL players had to say, and i havent heard ONE say it was intent to injure. ....there's no way Chara had any intent other then stop him from getting by him, like any other defensemen would have.....there was 1-2 seconds from when Pacioretty touched the puck and Chara checked him, split second...intent?? come on, get real.
and to the person who put up the youtube video...oh wowwww Chara threw a punch when the Montreal player was down, ive never seen anyone do that before. lol. That doesnt make him a dirty. Chara isnt dirty and i havent heard ONE former or present NHL player say so, or member of the media either.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:22 am

Coming up short on big Chara

Jays4Life, the problem is what you describe is not what happened. They weren't on the other side of the ice, they weren't a few feet forward or back and pretty much every player interviewed to a man has said that players know where they are on the ice. It boils down to this: are we here to protect the players or only those who instigate fouls? It seems to me to be the latter because everyone seems to rush to the defense of Chara, Mike Murphy included. Rather than making players responsible for their actions, the disciplinary process seems designed to absolve them as much as possible. Doesn't matter what could have happened if things were different. What matters is what did happen.

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