The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have the oldest rivalry in the NHL. Every game is played with plenty of tenacity and emotion but on Tuesday night Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara might have had too much of the combination, as he left Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty with a fractured vertebrae and severe concussion after a big hit in between the two team benches. The Bruins announced today that the league would not fine or even suspended Chara for the hit.
“Max Pacioretty has a severe concussion, as well as a fracture of the fourth cervical vertebrae, but it’s not displaced,” Habs’ coach Jacques Martin confirmed Wednesday. “Max will remain at the hospital for further observation. There will be no other prognosis for the time being, but he will obviously be out indefinitely.”
The 22-year-old Pacioretty was on the wrong end of a very scary play and was left unconscious after the he was checked by Chara in the closing seconds of the second period of the Canadiens’ 4-1 win at home. Chara has the honor of being the biggest man to ever lace up skates in the NHL and at 6-foot-9 and 255 pounds, we are sure taking a hit from him is certainly not fun, to say the least.
After the incident Chara received a five-minute major penalty for interference, along with a game misconduct. The league is required to look at an incident like this and decide if disciplinary action should be taken.
“After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline,” NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a statement. “This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous.”
The NHL reached their conclusion in part because of the fact that Chara has never been disciplined by the league in the past. The five-time All Star, who won the Norris Trophy in 2009, is now in his 13th season.
Should the league have suspended Chara?
We would have to say yes but no matter what when these two team meet on March 22, it could be one of the best games of the season. This time there is more bad blood than just their rivalry.
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