Pacioretty still bitter toward Bruins

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Pacioretty still bitter toward Bruins

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
Not everyone was thrilled when Boston won the Stanley Cup.

In a phone interview with thescore.com, Max Pacioretty talked as much about the Bruins as he did his new two-year deal with the Canadiens. That he was prodded about his rival is no surprise. Not only did Boston oust Montreal from the playoffs in a seven-game quarterfinal, but Pacioretty missed the postseason entirely after a controversial hit from Zdeno Chara in March.

Yesterday he wasn't quick with congratulations.

"I'm going to be dead honest with you, I turned the game off when I knew it was over," Pacioretty said. "I didn't want to see any of the Bruins' celebration. Just knowing that that team won the Cup was definitely hard because I know we were so close to beating them. And maybe if we had had a full roster we would have beaten them."

He continued the candor when asked about Chara and the hit that ended his season.

Pacioretty and the Chara made contact in a March 8 game in Montreal. The two were chasing a puck along the boards with 15.8 seconds left in the second period. Chara's hit sent Pacioretty face-first into the turnbuckle at the end of Boston's bench. The Canadiens forward collapsed and was eventually put into a neck brace and wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. Chara received a game misconduct but no supplemental discipline from the league.

Montreal and its fans were outraged. Pacioretty, in reflection of Chara's 'escape' from consequence to continue on to the Cup, is still bitter.

"It was definitely frustrating," he said. "The league's gotta stay consistent with headshots like this. It might not be the same type of headshot as everyone else's experience through them, but everyone who plays hockey knows that that's an illegal play. I mean, Chara got kicked out of the game and it ended up with me having a broken neck and out for the season with a concussion as well. I definitely would have liked to see some further punishment. That didn't happen.

"I hope down the road that they can clean up the game a bit and keep stuff like that out of it. Players don't want to see it and fans don't want to see it either. There's really no place for it. "

Pacioretty was then reminded how, after he Tweeted about feeling well enough to see a movie just days later, the Bruins' Mark Recchi -- referred to sarcastically as "Dr. Recchi" -- claimed the concussion was embellished to draw a suspension of Chara. Recchi later admitted his aim was to take the heat off his captain, but the comment was viewed as abhorrent to those north of the border. Especially in light of Nathan Horton's Game 3 concussion during the Stanley Cup finals.

Did Pacioretty catch the injured Horton smiling and waving a rally towel at TD Garden's Game 6?

"Yeah. I did notice that," he said. "Someone told me Horton might have done warmups, too. I'm not sure about that, that's just what I heard. That definitely shows what type of fans the Boston Bruins fans are because . . . I try not to look at it, but through Twitter I still get some pretty nasty stuff regarding embellishing injury. It's sad that people think that way, especially after it happens to someone on their own team."

Though there's no love lost for Boston's fans, Pacioretty hopes the best for Horton.

"Concussions are a weird thing . . . I think mine was similar to the case of Horton's, where we were both unconscious for a long period of time but came back a couple days later and had no symptoms since. I hope the same for him and I would never say he embellished his injury at all. I know exactly what he's going through and I hope a lot of fans out there are trying to realize the same thing now."

You can listen to the Boston-focused part of the interview here.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.