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

Dupont: If Bruins throw money at Stamkos, they move Krejci

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

DORCHESTER –Bruins general manager Don Sweeney spoke last weekend of the need for big winger Jimmy Hayes to step up next season if Loui Eriksson should indeed depart via free agency.

“I think Jimmy had a pretty good start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that,” said Sweeney. “We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player. He played a lot with Ryan Spooner.

“I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

Hayes heard that loud and clear just as he received the same message during exit interviews with the Bruins back in April, and knows that he needs to simply put more into next season.

Hayes’ numbers dropped from the previous season with the Florida Panthers, and he finished with 13 goals, 29 points and a minus-12 while going through long stretches where he completely disappeared on the ice. That’s a difficult thing for a 6-foot-6 forward to do, but Hayes managed while going weeks at a time without scoring and failing to play the big man’s game around the net on most nights.

The 26-year-old Hayes knows that needs to change for both his personal benefit and for the well-being of the Black and Gold this upcoming season.

“It’s definitely something that’s going to motivate me beyond just already motivating myself [this summer]. We had our own discussions [during exit interviews], and I know I’ve got to bounce back and have a strong season,” said Hayes. “I need to make sure I help my team win, and that’s what it’s all about. I want to be consistent and available every night to try get two points for our team, and get us as an organization back where we want to be.

“We just talked about how the season went, and we were really up-front with each other. We just want to continue to get better and more consistent, and get better through the season rather than have these spurts where you’re putting up numbers. And if you’re not scoring then you’ve got to find other ways to help the team win, and get to those areas where you’re going to get rewarded for going to those hard areas on a consistent basis.”

This isn’t the first time that Hayes has said all the right things about turning around his game, and really, truly living up to the hope he could be a big-bodied factor down low for the Black and Gold tipping, redirecting, screening and shoveling home rebounded pucks from areas all around the front of the net.