By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Zdeno Chara, in a brief conversation with reporters Thursday morning after an optional skate at TD Garden, said he understood the strong emotions expressed by Max Pacioretty from his hospital bed on Wednesday night.In an interview with Bob MacKenzie of TSN.ca, Pacioretty accused Chara of trying to guide his head into the turnbuckle Tuesday night, and proclaimed that Chara meant to do it."Chara -- who said he didn't even know it was Pacioretty that he was hitting -- knows the Montreal forward is emotional after suffering a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture of the fourth vertebrae. But he reiterated there was nothing intentional or purposeful about his check, from which the injuries resulted when Pacioretty slammed into the stanchion between the benches at the Bell Centre.
"Pacioretty is in the hospital, said Chara. He has the right to be emotional, and I respect that. As hockey players, we all feel bad when something like that happens no matter whether youre the home team or the visiting team. Theres always concern when somebody gets hurt.It was a hockey play. It wasn't intentional. That's not my style. I never try to hurt anybody. It's not what I attempted to do.Chara said he was also relieved there was no further discipline from the National Hockey League as a result of the hit, and added he fully intends to keep playing the tough, clean, punishing brand of hockey thats always been a staple of his game and allowed to reach All-Star and Norris Trophy levels.Chara has gone 13 years and 913 games without a supplemental discipline infraction, and one gets the sense he takes that as a badge of pride."Im satisfied and happy about it. Relieved, said Chara of the NHLs decision. They looked at it and made a decision, and I respect that.Chara also said he was made aware of the political and police machinations stirring at Habs Outrage Ground Zero in Montreal. Charas response: he was planning to simply play his game and not worry about grandstanding prosecutors and politicians looking to curry favor with votersangry Canadiens fans."I've got some media info on the police investigation this morning, said Chara. I'm focusing on the game and playing hockey. We'll see" Injured Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer has an interesting take on the CharaPacioretty situation. The Boston rookie played with Pacioretty at the University of Michigan for a season, and knows the kind of injuries the Canadiens forward has; he suffered a fractured skull and a broken bone in his neck after an off-ice incident with college football players during his time with the Wolverines.Kampfer called Alec Schall the agent he shares with Pacioretty when Pacioretty had his head and neck slammed into the turnbuckle, and talked to him for 90 minutes.I told my agent Ill be the first one to talk to Max if he wants to talk, said Kampfer. Ive gone through this before. I can definitely give him some pointers along the way of what hes going to expect and what hes going to encounter.But at the same time, I support Zee. Hes essentially my mentor and Im learning a lot of things from him. I believe that what Chara said is what happened. Pacioretty is recovering and hes getting bits and pieces of whats going on. I guess he lashed out in the media, and you expect that kind of thing from a guy thats hurt. Hes definitely hurting because hes looking at his season possibly being over. Thats never easy to swallow. Kampfer, who's recovering from a concussion, said he had a "setback" with a headache onWednesday night after attempting to ride the bike for 15 minutes, andwill rest and make another attempt over the next fewdays.
Tim Thomas looks like he'll be getting the start against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, and it appears his left glove hand is just fine.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs