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

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.