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

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.