Zdeno Chara – Verdict?

10 Mar

Okay, we’ve gotta talk about it:  Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty.

Pacioretty gave this interview with TSN saying flat out he thinks Chara intended to injure him.  And now there may be a police investigation, as the ministry of Public Security has asked the Montreal Police to look into the incident.  The NHL has not disciplined Chara other than the in-game penalty received on the play.

What do you all think? Should Chara be suspended?  Should the police be called in to look at particularly injurious plays, regardless of what the NHL decides? [Video]

WWBMD?

I knew it was the seventh anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi’s hit on Steve Moore, but I wasn’t aware that Moore is still waiting fora  court date to be set for assault charges he filed against Bertuzzi [link].  Bertuzzi was suspended 17 games (the rest of that season) and returned to hockey after the lockout.

Personally, I’m torn.  I don’t think Chara intended to injure Pacioretty, so he should not be suspended.  He’s not a dirty player or repeat offender, anymore than someone who’s 6’9″ throws some understandably heavy hits.  There have been a lot of dirty plays lately and the NHL is not doing enough to police them.  But Chara is not Trevor Gillies and he’s certainly not Todd Bertuzzi.  Then you look at plays like this one, where Pavel Kubina was suspended three games for an elbow to the head on Dave Bolland.  Yes he intentionally gets his elbow up and this season has proven the dangers of such a play.  But when you watch them in succession, is this really worse than Chara’s hit? [Video]

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11 Responses to “Zdeno Chara – Verdict?”

  1. Shi March 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I totally agree. I’ve watched that hit over and over again and I see nothing wrong with it. Chara is 250 lbs of solid muscle and is going to hit hard standing still let alone skating at full tilt. I hate that Max Pacioretty was hurt so badly, and I’m glad that it turned out to not be a severe as they originally thought but I think the melodrama has gotten a little out of hand in this situation.

  2. Chuck March 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I was going to post about this but ya beat me to it.

    I do not believe that Chara hit Pacioretty with the intent to injure. I don’t believe it for one second. Call me biased if you want, but I think that it was just an unfortunate combination of body position, timing, and rink construction. Chara’s hit was legal and solid but on the follow through, his strength and momentum took over and Pacioretty unfortunately collided with a metal stantion.

    I makes me sick that Pacioretty was injured so badly (because I never wish that on anyone). You can tell the Chara is tore up over the whole thing the way he speaks about it in interviews. I get the Habs’ fans frustration but to suggest that Chara be investigated is going a bit over the line. It is not like he is a thug who headhunts ever game and is known for being a goon. Chara is a classy player who’s physical attributes just happen make him an easy target.

  3. Jones March 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Intent is such a difficult issue. Given that Chara isn’t exactly Gillies in the way he tends to conduct himself, and working on the assumption that he’s at least a half-decent human being, I’m sure he didn’t say to himself “okay, I’m going to try and end this guy’s career here.” But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t reckless or irresponsible. He didn’t just accidentally fall into him or something. He rode him along the boards into a dangerous area and followed through. The play was illegal (puck was already gone-zo), hence the penalties given in-game by the refs. He had other options if he wanted to stop Pacioretty that would still have been illegal but statistically less dangerous. I’m sure he didn’t explicitly try to break the guy’s neck. I’m less sure he wasn’t trying to “send a message” and it turned out a lot more serious than he bargained for.

    And yes, Chara is no Gillies, but after seeing him guide Grabovski’s head into the boards a few weeks ago I’m not sure he’s total paragon of cleanliness either. And let’s not forget that Bertuzzi was no Bertuzzi until his hit on Moore either. I don’t think he’s exactly covered himself in glory with a couple of his comments either. I realize it’s a difficult situation and everyone will pick apart any utterance, but when a guy could have died or been permanently paralyzed, I don’t really like “well, he jumped into the stanchion” as a first response there.

    I’m inclined to agree with Pacioretty’s comments that there should have been some suspension, even if it was just a few games, because of the unfortunate message this sends. Apparently doing things liable to cause very serious injury is no big deal. As along as you’re a star player, of course. (You wonder where the player’s union is in all this. Some conflicts of interest there, one suspects.)

  4. Pants March 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Jones – Great question about the NHLPA. I read a quote from one of the Canucks saying if you asked 700 NHL players if Chara’s hit deserved suspension, 680 would say yes. I think he meant the other 20 were Bruins. It would be interesting to know what the Union would make of that, and if their numbers would match up.

    • Jones March 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      Yeah, the NHLPA often seems very invested in getting guys off from punishments, but, uh, less concerned about their union members on the other end of the equation. Not to mention the wimpy little statement they put out on rink safety, like this is the first time anyone’s ever gone into the turnbuckle, ever.

      I’ve seen a lot of varying quotes, but a lot of players seem to be saying that at minimum it seems wrong that he gets nothing given the severity of the outcome. Lots of “he broke the guy’s neck, how is that not a couple of games?”

      The best player comment I’ve seen, for my money, is Henrik Sedin’s (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/stars+Henrik+Sedin+Thornton+into+Zdeno+Chara+decision+Bruins/4419822/story.html). He raises some good issues and it’s very sensible and well put.

  5. Seriously Pissed March 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    What doesn’t sit right with me is Chara’s hands on Pacioretty’s head. I kind of agree with Jones – maybe not intent to injure, but maybe sending a message a little over-zealously. And speaking of messages, what’s the message the NHL is sending on this? The NHL keeps saying it’s trying to do more to protect players; they added the illegal check to the head rule and they’ve been fining and suspending players over it. The problem is that they’re doing it somewhat inconsistently. The rules should target the action, not the player. By saying that they’ve taken Chara’s reputation and lack of prior disciplinary action into account, they’re basically saying “Everybody gets one.”

  6. dawncherrie March 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I think Chara should have gotten some kind of suspension. I saw it happen in real time and I’m sorry. The puck was gone and there was no reason for him to push off on Max. It is no difference than the hit Green took a few weeks ago which the guy got a fine but no suspension. There seems to be no consistency. Chara has gotten away with alot of hits that other players would have either been fined, suspended or both. Just because he’s 6ft 9″ doesn’t make a good excuse. He’s culpable for his behavior like anyone else on the ice. I don’t think ANY player goes out there to intentionaly hurt anyone, including Gillies, Bertuzzi or Chara. That being said I agree it should be the HIT not the player who should be evaluated. That being said, hate to say it, if that had been Ovi, he would have been booted out of the NHL. See what a difference that would have made?

    • Seriously Pissed March 11, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Ha… you’re talking to someone whose favorite team employs Matt Cooke. If Cooke would have made that hit, there would have been riots, followed by suspensions, followed by more riots because the suspensions weren’t enough. When a player has a reputation like Cooke, it’s hard to look at questionable hits objectively. But I think the NHL has to find a way to do it, because otherwise they create these gray areas in the rules and there will always be someone there to exploit them.

      • dawncherrie March 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

        I heart you Seriously Pissed!

        • Jones March 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

          I totally agree with both you guys that they need to clean up the current gaping grey areas and inconsistancies in the rules and how they’re applied.
          And also that the “but he’s 6’9″!” and the “but he’s a clean player!” defenses are really problematic, to put it kindly. (And would be no matter who we were talking about. If this were, say, Hal Gill on Bergeron, or whatever, I feel 100% the same way.)

          You may know of it already, but if you want to get your righteous indignation on, it’s fun (well, “fun”) to read Colin Campbell’s past comments on Ovechkin and Cooke and compare it to how the league is talking about this incident. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/03/colin_campbell_explains_ovechk.html)

  7. Deanna March 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    While I don’t believe Chara intended to injure Max, I do believe he should have been suspended for a game or two. It was an illegal play that resulted in serious injury to another player. He needs to be held responsible for his actions.

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