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.