Chara could avoid suspension for dangerous hit

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Chara could avoid suspension for dangerous hit

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

MONTREAL So where to fall, opinion-wise, on a hit that looked so dire, so dangerous and so potentially deadly on first blush?

Zdeno Chara was battling with Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty -- a guy who has done a pretty good job of wearing a black Habs villain hat this season -- near the Bell Centre benches when a quick flick of his left forearm turned disastrous.

The Bruins captain was slightly behind the play and was riding the Habs player out against the side wall, as hes done 1,000 times before. If Chara lets up on Pacioretty and allows the winger to get in for a fifth Canadiens goal then it would be on the Boston defensemen for soft play. Instead, the 6-foot-9 defenseman finished his check.

Pacioretty went head and neck first into the stanchion dividing the Montreal bench from the Boston bench, and spent 10 minutes motionless on the ice before he was wheeled off on a stretcher.

Scary stuff for all members of the Bruins and Canadiens. Moments like that always have a put it in proper perspective kind of effect.

The news from Paciorettys agent Alec Schall that his Montreal client will be okay in the long term was welcome information. The 14-goal scorer probably had a concussion, but would otherwise be okay.

Cold as it is to say, the favorable Pacioretty diagnosis will play into any potential supplemental discipline for Chara over the next 24 hours.

While there was an interference penalty, and an injury requiring a game misconduct, many other little pieces of information are on Charas side.

Start first with the game refs that saw nothing wrong beyond the interference they originally ruled.

"It was unfortunate, said 43-year-old Mark Recchi, who has seen plenty of nasty hits over the years. If Pacioretty gets hit on the other side of the ice where there's no stanchion nothing happens to him. He just keeps going. It's unfortunate.

The refs said there was nothing dirty about the play. He just rode the check out and unfortunately the turnbuckle was a part of it. The player got hurt, so they had to call it a major penalty.

The refs didnt feel it was an overtly dirty play, Chara has a fairly clean reputation in the NHL, and the injury doesnt appear to be dire for Pacioretty. That can all play into any NHL decision. There's a chance, all things considered, Chara is saddled with with nothing more than the time he's already served.

The 32-year-old defenseman stressed that he isnt the kind of player bent on hurting the opposition, and it was simply a case of wrong place at the wrong time.

Thats a bit debatable, given the caution that Chara should use in that area of the ice, and its even doubly so given the past between the B's captain and the Montreal rabblerouser. After all it was Pacioretty that scored the overtime game-winner in Bostons last loss to the Habs in Montreal, and then shoved an enraged Chara while celebrating with his teammates.

Was it coincidence that put Pacioretty on the receiving end of his hit, or was this Charas example of comeuppance?

We were racing for the puck and battling for position. As the puck went by I was riding him out and it was very unfortunate, said Chara, who showed zero emotion after another unsatisfying loss to Montreal. At the time I was pushing on him he kind of leaned, he jumped a little bit and then hit the glass stanchion. It was really unfortunate.

In that situation everything is moving so fast and youre not planning to do that. Its not my style to hurt somebody. I always play hard and play physical. I have never tried to hurt anybody, so I hope hes okay.

NHL discipline chief Colin Campbell will recuse himself for this ruling, given that his son Gregory plays for the Bruins. But the league will no doubt have people angry no matter which way it decides.

In Montreal, plenty want to see the 6-foot-9 Chara drawn and quartered. In Boston, all they saw was a hard hit that, unfortunately, resulted in injury.

There could be a lot of hurt feelings before things are said and done.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.