Chara 'respects' Pacioretty's emotional response


Chara 'respects' Pacioretty's emotional response

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Zdeno Chara, in a brief conversation with reporters Thursday morning after an optional skate at TD Garden, said he understood the strong emotions expressed by Max Pacioretty from his hospital bed on Wednesday night.In an interview with Bob MacKenzie of, Pacioretty accused Chara of trying to guide his head into the turnbuckle Tuesday night, and proclaimed that Chara meant to do it."Chara -- who said he didn't even know it was Pacioretty that he was hitting -- knows the Montreal forward is emotional after suffering a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture of the fourth vertebrae. But he reiterated there was nothing intentional or purposeful about his check, from which the injuries resulted when Pacioretty slammed into the stanchion between the benches at the Bell Centre.
"Pacioretty is in the hospital, said Chara. He has the right to be emotional, and I respect that. As hockey players, we all feel bad when something like that happens no matter whether youre the home team or the visiting team. Theres always concern when somebody gets hurt.It was a hockey play. It wasn't intentional. That's not my style. I never try to hurt anybody. It's not what I attempted to do.Chara said he was also relieved there was no further discipline from the National Hockey League as a result of the hit, and added he fully intends to keep playing the tough, clean, punishing brand of hockey thats always been a staple of his game and allowed to reach All-Star and Norris Trophy levels.Chara has gone 13 years and 913 games without a supplemental discipline infraction, and one gets the sense he takes that as a badge of pride."Im satisfied and happy about it. Relieved, said Chara of the NHLs decision. They looked at it and made a decision, and I respect that.Chara also said he was made aware of the political and police machinations stirring at Habs Outrage Ground Zero in Montreal. Charas response: he was planning to simply play his game and not worry about grandstanding prosecutors and politicians looking to curry favor with votersangry Canadiens fans."I've got some media info on the police investigation this morning, said Chara. I'm focusing on the game and playing hockey. We'll see" Injured Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer has an interesting take on the CharaPacioretty situation. The Boston rookie played with Pacioretty at the University of Michigan for a season, and knows the kind of injuries the Canadiens forward has; he suffered a fractured skull and a broken bone in his neck after an off-ice incident with college football players during his time with the Wolverines.Kampfer called Alec Schall the agent he shares with Pacioretty when Pacioretty had his head and neck slammed into the turnbuckle, and talked to him for 90 minutes.I told my agent Ill be the first one to talk to Max if he wants to talk, said Kampfer. Ive gone through this before. I can definitely give him some pointers along the way of what hes going to expect and what hes going to encounter.But at the same time, I support Zee. Hes essentially my mentor and Im learning a lot of things from him. I believe that what Chara said is what happened. Pacioretty is recovering and hes getting bits and pieces of whats going on. I guess he lashed out in the media, and you expect that kind of thing from a guy thats hurt. Hes definitely hurting because hes looking at his season possibly being over. Thats never easy to swallow. Kampfer, who's recovering from a concussion, said he had a "setback" with a headache onWednesday night after attempting to ride the bike for 15 minutes, andwill rest and make another attempt over the next fewdays.
Tim Thomas looks like he'll be getting the start against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, and it appears his left glove hand is just fine.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

The NHL trade deadline is now less than a week away, with plenty of movement expected despite the perpetual lack of sellers, and an expansion draft perhaps preventing some teams from taking on players they will then need to protect. 

The Bruins shouldn’t be much of a seller as long as they can continue their current good stretch for three more games before the March 1 deadline. The expansion draft shouldn’t be much of a scare either based on the players {Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Malcolm Subban) they might be in danger of losing to the Vegas Golden Knights this summer.

With the Bruins currently outside of a playoff spot by virtue of the one game in hand held by the Florida Panthers (both teams have 66 points vying for the final wild-card spot), it would be no surprise if GM Don Sweeney wanted to be a buyer at the deadline for a Boston roster that could use a big top-six winger with finishing ability, a top-four defenseman that can move the puck and a backup goaltender should Anton Khudobin have any more struggles this season.

The Bruins and Avalanche had been talking steadily in recent weeks about a possible deal for 24-year-old left wing Gabriel Landeskog, but those discussions have hit a standstill with Sweeney refusing to part with either Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy in the trade package. That's the 100 percent right move for a Bruins team that shouldn't start trading away blue chip D-man prospects. 

Landeskog has made sense for the Black and Gold because he’s signed long term with a reasonable $5.7 million cap hit, and because he’d theoretically be a good, power forward fit alongside David Krejci.

It’s that type of trade Sweeney and the Bruins are looking to make for a young player with term that will be part of the long-term solution in Boston. They aren’t looking for a repeat of last season where they shipped off good future assets in exchange for pedestrian rental players Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles and missed the playoffs anyway after dipping into the trade market.

In other words, Sweeney doesn’t sound all that keen in dipping heavily into the rental market, for a Patrick Eaves or a Dmitry Kulikov for instance, as he did a year ago.  

“Do I think we have an opportunity to make the playoffs? Absolutely, there’s no question this group has a chance to get in. Whether or not I can find a player between now and the deadline that sort of fills all those gaps, that does remain to be seen,” said Sweeney at the time of the Claude Julien firing, prior to the current four-game winning streak. 

“But I think it dovetails with the fact that I’m not going to be short-sighted. I’m going to stick to the longer term view as to what I have put in place with the intention of being able to bridge and bringing in players like David Backes and surround our guys that we get a chance to win now and be competitive now.

“I’d prefer to err on the side of a player that will integrate into us on the longer-term. Last year, we gave up draft picks. I wasn’t prepared to move players that I felt in the same regard that teams had asked for in order to get a higher-level rental or a different kind of rental. I’m not going to deviate from what I said. Are there players and we have a surplus? That’s what I want to try and evaluate and find out whether or not we can deal from a position of strength.”

Some of that may change after a current four-game winning streak with a Bruins team that looks much more playoff-worthy than the aimless group that struggled through the first 55 games. But it would have to be the perfect rental at the right price for it to make sense for the Bruins this time around and chances are that might not materialize for a team just looking to hang in there until McAvoy, Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Zach Senyshyn are ready to contribute a couple of years down the road.

So, would people be okay if Sweeney and the Bruins stand pat at the trade deadline if they can’t swing a big hockey deal for a young player like Landeskog who would be part of the long-term plan? Is it acceptable to just let it ride with the current group that has suddenly shown a different gear under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, and bet on the core group rising to the occasion like they didn’t the last couple of years under Julien?

The answer from this humble hockey writer is that Sweeney should pass on anything less than a home run deal for the Black and Gold. The worst thing the Bruins GM could do is get in the way of the momentum that’s naturally starting to roll with his team, or make another severe misstep with his NHL talent evaluation. Right now, draft and development seem to be his strengths, and he should lean into those and away from being a wheeler dealer with wiser, more experienced managers around the NHL looking to once again rob the Black and Gold blind.

So, there’s a chance the Bruins do very little at the deadline and, after thinking about it, the fickle fans should be perfectly okay with that as they watch a newly transformed hockey club. 

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready for the February heat wave headed our way.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s a podcast I did on Tuesday talking Bruins with former Hartford Whalers great and current outstanding TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro, who is also a great FOH (Friend of Haggs).

*Good piece on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster that has already gained plenty of internet plaudits for his great, and now legendary, Nick Bonino goal call in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

*It’s never too early to look at this summer’s crop of NHL draft-eligible players. Right, Kevin Allen?

*Apparently Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews has his own rap song, so he’s got that going for him…which is nice.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Jason Brough has James Wisniewski trying to revive his NHL career after a short stint in the KHL.

*There’s a call for Nashville backup Juuse Saros to get more playing time between the pipes for the Predators.

*Larry Brooks brings his always interesting take to the Bruins situation in allowing Claude Julien to take the head gig in Montreal, and said it all came down to money. Big surprise there. I think there was also a concern from the B’s about having another PR nightmare on their hands if it was perceived that they stepped in and didn’t allow Julien to gain employment someplace else, regardless of what waited for him in the offseason. It also tells me that the Bruins aren’t afraid of Julien coaching their arch-rivals, which makes perfect sense since they just fired him.

*For something completely different: the image of Woody Harrelson in the Falcon cockpit is both jarring and super awesome.