Chara, Pacioretty come to greater level of understanding

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Chara, Pacioretty come to greater level of understanding

LAS VEGAS, NV Zdeno Chara has stated many times that his incident with Max Pacioretty two years was a hockey play, and that it ended unfortunately for the Habs forward as he was wheeled out on a stretcher from the Bell Centre.

More than unfortunate the phrase horribly awry would also apply as it would for the actions of a blood-thirsty Montreal fan base that seemed intent on persecuting Chara after the incident.

But time heals all wounds, and the Bruins Captain was pleased to see Pacioretty named as one of the Masterton Trophy Finalists for Wednesdays NHL Awards ceremony at the Wynn Casino and Resort. Chara was there as a Norris Trophy finalist looking for his second career award, and the presence of both players was difficult to ignore 15 months after one horrendous hit intertwined them.

Hes been playing really well. Hes been a good player for Montreal, said Chara of Pacioretty. He came back really strong and has come back with a lot of confidence and support. Good for him.

Interestingly enough Pacioretty admitted on Wednesday hes come to an even greater level of understanding with the Bs 6-foot-9 defenseman. After their collision ended with the Habs forward smacking head-first into the Bell Centre stanchion, Chara reached out to Pacioretty to express regret over the Montreal grinders injuries.

It was appreciated on one level at the time, though Pacioretty was still understandably upset in the months that followed.

"It's kind of like a bad moment in my life that I want to get over, but I just seem to not be able to do it, said Pacioretty, who recovered courageously from a severe concussion and fracture vertebrae to finish with 33 goals and 65 points for the Canadiens last season. "I have talked to him. Hockey's a fast game and I've made mistakes. He admitted he made a mistake, so obviously there's no grudge from my point of view . . . and on my end."

But Pacioretty has a much better understanding of the sentiment and the difficulty in making that phone call when he similarly apologized to Penguins defenseman Kris Letang this season.

Pacioretty was suspended three games for catching Letang in the head with a very questionable hit, and knew the onus was on him to accept responsibility when he was on the other end.

Its something the few, the unlucky players will experience in their careers full of collisions and near injuries.

Both Chara and Pacioretty now stand on a little bit more equal footing involved in hockey plays that went wrong, and the Bs defenseman accepts its something that can happen in the bruising NHL world.

We havent talked recently, but weve talked on a number of occasions. I think its pretty normal. We all play the game hard and we all want to win, said Chara. We all play tough. Its hockey and thats just the way that it goes, but at the end of the day we dont want to hurt anybody.

We dont want to make another guy go out on crutches or be out of the game. Its just the way it happens a lot of times. In a split-second you do something and you dont even have time to think about it. You just react to it. So its a great gesture for him to reach to Kris. Thats what we do as hockey players. We play hard, but were also humans. We dont want to hurt anybody on purpose.

Perhaps both Chara and Pacioretty will think twice in those split-second actions after being forced to make phone calls to victimized opponents. Thats what having respect for fellow players is all about.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.