Chara avoids fine or suspension

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Chara avoids fine or suspension

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- Zdeno Chara avoided further punishment for his hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty when the National Hockey League decided Wednesday not to issue a fine or suspension to the Bruins' captain.

Chara had a hearing with the NHL at mid-day on Wednesday, prior to the team's practice at Ristuccia Arena. Chara participated in the workout.

On Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a non-displaced fractured of the fourth cervical vertebrae after being checked by Chara and hitting his head on the "turnbuckle" that separates the two benches at center ice.

Prior to the ruling, the Bruins defended their captain.

"Knowing Chara as I know, there was no intent to injure aplayer on that play," said coach Claude Julien. "As I mentioned Tuesday night, the location ofthe injury is what caused the damage, and that's the unfortunate partof that . . .

"The one thing that everybody here hopes, is that the human side of us wishes for Pacioretty to recover quickly and well," said Julien. "That would something that everybody hopes, here. I know that Chara is going through a lot of stuff right now, and is being perceived as a dirty player, which anybody who knows Z, knows that's not the case."

Julien said Chara has always been a clean player, and that sometimes his physicality can look worse than it actually is because of his size.

"When you're 6-foot-9, and you're probably one of the strongest guys in the league, you can't go out there and not utilize that to your advantage," said Julien. "So he plays hard, but at the same time, he plays clean. It's already a challenge, for a guy like him, at 6-foot-9, to keep his elbows down. Because the minute he lifts them up a little bit, it's hitting guys in the head. So he's made a really good adjustment, in regards to that.

"It's always easy to criticize. It's always easy to attack a guy. But if you take time to look at the situation, if you take time to see what he has to go through, there's always going to be a challenge for him."

None of the Bruins thought it was a dirty hit, saying that had it occured anywhere but the area between the benches, Pacioretty wouldn't have been hurt.

"It's not like he was trying to hurt the guy," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. "It really wasn't his intention to hurt the guy, and make sure he didn't get up. He's not that type of player. It was just a weird spot that he got put into."

"If it happens anywhere away from the bench, where there's plexiglass, it just rubs Pacioretty out and there's absolutely nothing happening there . . . except at worst . . . two minutes for interference," said Julien. "That's it. That's all."

"I was trying to make a strong hockey play, and play hard," said Chara, who hadn't had a chance to reach out to Pacioretty -- but plans to -- as of Wednesday afternoon. "It's very unfortunate, like I said, that the player got hurt and had to leave the game. Obviously, it is in my mind."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.