Haggerty: Ruling on Chara was the right one

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Haggerty: Ruling on Chara was the right one

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

At the end of the day, both common sense and courage won out for the NHL in the case of the entire province of Quebec against Zdeno Chara.

The citizens of Montreal spent an entire day clogging up their local emergency phone lines breathlessly calling the police for requests to arrest the Bruins defenseman after his jarring collision with Max Pacioretty that left the young Canadiens forward with a cracked bone in his neck and a severe concussion.

Air Canada has threatened to pull its advertising with the NHL over the irresponsible way the league has treated head shots and serious on-ice incidents leading to injury, and even Canadian Parliament got into it with a scathing criticism of the NHL.

Paciorettys injury and subsequent anti-NHL rant to TSNs Bob McKenzie less than 24 hours after the hellish head-first impact with the Bell Centre stanchion had much of Canada whipped up into a state of frenzy.

But theres a couple of important points that need to be mixed in with the grandstanding and political football nature that the hit and subsequent NHL ruling have brought on and its important to make them before the angry mobs of Montreal decide to storm Boston with pitchforks and torches ready to go looking for Chara, the NHLs version of Frankensteins Monster.

The problem with all of this hue, cry and fist-shaking anger directed toward the intimidating, towering Chara?

He didnt actually do anything patently wrong within the NHL rules other than interfering with Pacioretty as Pacioretty attempted to pass Chara in the most dangerous area of the ice: by the turnbuckle between benches.

Chara certainly should have known where he was on the ice, but by the same token Pacioretty should have also been aware of his location when he attempted to squeeze between the Bruins defenseman and the bench area.

With that in mind, Chara served his five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct and then relied on a 13-year career thats featured exactly one league suspension for an instigator penalty while playing for the Ottawa Senators.

NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Ops Mike Murphy came down with a ruling on Wednesday afternoon that there would be no further discipline for Chara, and there was really nothing to penalize the big defenseman for. It was interference in a difficult part of the ice on a fast-paced play, and Pacioretty became a victim of the speed and violence combo at the heart of NHL hockey.

Murphys statement put every corner of the argument to bed: "I conducted a hearing with Boston Bruins' defenseman Zdeno Chara with respect to the major penalty for interference and game misconduct that he was assessed at 19:44 of the second period for a hit on Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.

After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline. This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly -- with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous.

This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface. In reviewing this play, I also took into consideration that Chara has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career.

The one problem with the NHL finding no further issues with the Chara hit: an incensed Canadiens team is likely to take matters into their own hands on March 24 at TD Garden, and that could involve many Bs players being at risk for retribution.

Skaters like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Tyler Seguin would do well to tread lightly in that final regular season game against the Habs in Boston a contest that could well be Les Habitants looking for revenge in a war of attrition rather than a scoreboard battle.

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

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.


 

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena with little more than a handful of B’s players skating, but the most important player to Boston success, Tuukka Rask, was taking part after missing practice on Monday.

Rask missed Monday’s practice session while getting checked out medically following his exit from Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh due to vision issues. He said on Tuesday that it was all related to migraines that have cropped up a couple of times in his NHL career. The Bruins No. 1 netminder also said he was good to play on Tuesday night against the Red Wings with just a couple of home games left until this weekend’s All-Star break.

That was the kind of good news embattled coach Claude Julien was looking for as Boston looks to end its season-worst, four-game losing streak.

“We’ve got good news so far, so that’s nice to see,” Julien said of Rask, who has started 13 of Boston’s past 14 games dating to a Dec. 27 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Obviously it was because of the migraines, so hopefully we won’t see much more of that.”

In other Black and Gold health news, both Colin Miller and Kevan Miller have been cleared to play, and are expected to rejoin the B’s lineup with John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow headed for healthy scratches. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings as the Red Wings arrive for a divisional tilt after a shootout loss for Boston last week at Joe Louis Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Krejci-Backes

Schaller-Nash-Beleskey

Spooner-Moore-Hayes

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

K. Miller-C. Miller


Rask