As colleague Tomlinson mentioned in his updated post on Zdeno Chara’s devastating hit on Max Pacioretty, the NHL will be not hand down any supplemental discipline on the Bruins defenceman.

So here we are with another baffling case of NHL justice, or lack thereof depending on how you view the hit. Was there intent on the part of Chara to ride Pacioretty in the stanchion and nearly decapitate him, does it matter if there was? Apparently not, if Mike Murphy’s ruling on the case is to be considered definitive. Those who believe that it was the correct decision will cite the hit as just another “hockey play” that unfortunately led to a serious injury, and that it was simply a matter of on-ice geography. Those that feel it was the incorrect call by Murphy and the NHL argue that Chara has to held responsible for the hit and that he knew damn well what he was doing while rubbing Pacioretty out along the boards.

The debate has been heated all day on Twitter and has been getting all the more intense with official word on no suspension coming down. Here’s some reactions that we’ve compiled from various media types, bloggers, and hockey fans:

What do you think, did the NHL make the right call on Chara’s hit?

Comments (25)

  1. Jeremey Roenick’s comment is possibly the most insipid and idiotic thing I’ve ever read. What a waste of breath.

  2. Tough to assume intent. My sense was the arm to the face led to a consequence that resulted in a concussion. Had they been along full boards, it’s entirely likely he gets called for contact to the head. At minimum, one game. Emotionally, they should throw the book at him. Alas, Marian Hossa was not even penalized on the play that took out Bryan Berrard’s eye.

  3. at least give him a game, but i do beleive that he didnt want to smash his face into the glass.i like chara as a player but he should still be hit with something

  4. how about if it’s not Pacioretty, how about it was Sidney Crosby or Ovechkin… will it be the same … no fine or suspension?

  5. Ridiculous, and a despicable play coming from someone who is generally not a particularly dirty player. Virtually every view is conclusive in my opinion. Pacioretty pokes the puck while he’s a good five feet off the boards and at the blue line. Chara has the opportunity at this point to turn away — they’re away from the boards, the puck is no longer near them — but Chara instead decides to, quite literally, throw Pacioretty into the glass stanchion. In the video posted previously, you can see that at the beginning of 0:40, Pacioretty has already poked the puck up the ice and is well off the boards. He then takes another step and a half or so up ice before Chara, at the beginning of 0:42, with the puck already beyond the red line, throws his weight into Pacioretty, with the contact with the stanchion occurring at the end of 0:42. At the start of 0:41, you can even see Chara turn up ice briefly to come alongside Pacioretty,. It even looks as though Chara might have been looking at the glass itself while making the hit (see middle of 0:42), though by that time it was too olate for either player to do anything about it. What’s especially clear (and damming) is that Chara doesn’t throw Pacioretty perpendicularly into the boards like a player normally would. Chara is in fact behind Pacioretty (maybe a half step or so, see 0:23) when, at the middle of 0:23, he pushes Pacioretty up onto the boards, and then at the end of 0:23, you can see Chara’s arm coming up as though he pushed or shoved him into the boards.

    This is absolutely inexcusable. I don’t care what the intention is — Chara is 6’9″ and weighs in at 255lbs (according to Wikipedia), while Pacioretty is listed at 6’2″ and 215lbs. While Pacioretty is not small, even for an NHLer, Chara has to know how much bigger he is than everyone else, and he needs to play accordingly. You can’t just throw people into the boards there. It’s a matter of knowing where you are on the ice.

    Further, a piece of discussion that has been missing I think is the fact that there were 15 seconds left in the period. Not that players should stop playing for those last few seconds in the period (they shouldn’t), but they should know the time left, and be able to recognize that the situation may not warrant a huge hit. Not much is likely to happen in 15 seconds, especially since the Bruins defensemen were back and had control of the puck when the play was whistled dead.

    It was entirely unnecessary. Part of the NHL’s reason for no further discipline was that Chara had never been seriously disciplined before. This reasoning is ridiculous. Accidental or not, these players make a lot of money to be the best in the world. They ought to know where they are on the ice. The game is dangerous, sure, and players get hurt sometimes, but that doesn’t excuse those who do the hurting. They ought to know better than to expose themselves or someone else to a dangerous situation.

    Intent is hard to figure out. It’s definitely late, and not just a little bit, but by a full 2 seconds. And it’s not as though he was riding him into the boards the whole way — he merely threw him into the boards right at the stanchion. What I can say with certainty is that Chara was looking to push him into the boards there. My guess is that he was trying to hit him a bit earlier so that he would have (in theory) just rolled off the stanchion. My hope is that he was actually aiming to hit him up against the glass directly. However, especially with that final shove at 0:42, it doesn’t look like that, and I would have to say there were definitely intent of some kind. Probably not to hurt him that badly, but definitely to make Pacioretty (or anyone else) think twice about trying that on Chara again.

    And these two have a history. Let’s not forget that.

  6. good hit any where else in the rink

  7. Good call! Unfortunate injury, but if you have ever played the game it is a very phtsical sport and injuries do happen. You can’t say Chara should downsize his game to accomodate the weak and small, which he often does anyway. This would be like telling Crosby to score less goals.Keep in mind Pacioretty is not that small, just not big enough. If this happened to a major star the same call should be made as they decide to play THE GREATEST SPORT OF ALL (HOCKEY) and know the risk involved. Hope for a speedy recovery for Pacioretty!!!

  8. listen i commeneted on a chara story before about a shot from behind and defended him sayin his shoulder is normal head height and he cant help it but it happens TOO OFTEN he obviously doensnt have control and hes not getting punished so why would he stop if he doesnt get punished.

  9. somebody said how about if it’s not Pacioretty, how about it was Sidney Crosby or Ovechkin… will it be the same … no fine or suspension aand guess what i can bet thered be a suspension.

  10. Ben is a legend for his epic comment. Totally agree with him. Chara shoulda been suspended because THE HIT WAS LATE! However, two other things you have to remember: the unusual rink dimensions (league’s fault) and Chara’s hugeness (noone’s fault). Still, a bad hit. Intent was there…he attacked Pacirety after the puck was well off his stick. That makes it an illegal hit.

  11. Would the league ruling be the same if Colin Campbell’s son got his neck broken ?

  12. As a side note, Chara may have escaped a suspension, but he is still wide open for legal action and civil suits.

  13. typical NHL politics – Chara is a clean player ? NOT – he doesnt care about anything but the BRUINS – if it was a leaf doing the same hit – everyone knows the answer to that – the NHL hates the leafs – remember 93 and the no calll on Gretzky – NHL did not want an all Canadian Final – lets go USA way to go GARY BETTMAN – you need to retire. Why dont they just play tiddly winks its safer.

  14. This was only interference until Chara’s hands went to the head at the end. It is hard to understand how so many people watch this and can’t or won’t acknowledge this point. If the hands had not gone to the head and driven Patch into the stanchion I doubt there would be so much discussion today.

  15. as a minor hockey ref this is exactly how the NHL is ruining the game or should I say Colin Campbell and Bettman – I cant wait for the next Boston Montreal game too – the players will again take matters into their own hands.

  16. All NHl players know the risks of playing a fast paced high contact game – they make millions – to quote CROSBY – wouldnt it be great to play the game you love everyday – follow me around for a week you will see a different light.

  17. Raise your hand if you actually played hockey….(no one raises hand except asker)…case closed…its a contact sport.

  18. It is simple, the NHL treats certain teams and players differently. It always has and always will. Stephane Richer’s thumb, if memory serves correct, was broken by a Boston Bruin player in at least two playoff series. Koivu had his eye almost taken out when the Canadians were up 3-0 against Carolina, who went on to win what I feel is a tarnished Stanley Cup. The Chara hit was purely reckless and stupid … he may have never been disciplined before; however, the few games of his that I watched would suggest he is no angel. The questions are why do players have no respect for others, why does potentially ending a man’s career not warrant disciplinary action, and was Chara seeking pay back for Pacioretty’s shove in a past game? It these reasons and more why my interest in the NHL has gone down the tubes over the years. Actions speaker louder than words and if the NHL is trying to sell hockey as entertainment, especially to the US market, they need to start acting on such reckless behaviour.

  19. I just wish the league clean up this sport. i hate to say it but i think the only way the nhl going to change is if someone dies first.

  20. I do think that Chara did intend to hurt Pacioretty.The interference call was justified.But when Chara uses his left arm and right hand to push Pacioretty into the turnbuckle that’s when he crossed the line.It looked to me that Chara knew the glass stantion was there when he made contact-well after the puck was shot down the ice.The Bruins and the NHL cannot keep using Chara’s size as an excuse for him. He’s like the big bully in the schoolyard who’ll keep pushing people around until the principal disciplines him.He showed no remorse for the hit either.By saying Chara was just making a hockey play(a late one) the NHL is saying the on ice officials made the wrong call by giving him a 5 minute penalty.Will it take an on-ice death for the league decision-making boneheads to have some consistency with their system for handing down suspensions.Lets hope that’s not the case.Let’s wait and see how ugly this gets. More importantly let’s keep our thoughts and best wishes on a young bright star,Max Pacioretty.

  21. It is not a question of intent. It is a question of accountability. Anywhere else that gesture would be considered criminal negligence, the Pacioretty family would be suing Chara and the cops would be charging him (poor mom and dad attending that game).

    But in hockey? It’s just unfortunate. No coach in the league will condemn Chara because everyone of them would have asked the same of any defender in that situation; take the interference penalty and deny Max the partial break away.

    Chara is a pro, not just at shooting pucks but also at checking forwards. Maybe “worse case scenario” did not occur to him when he pushed Max into the turnbuckle but he knew what he was doing. He’s not a dirty player, his 13 year career tells us that, but he was careless last night.

    Shame on the NHL. Totally got this one wrong. If the referee booked him for a major game misconduct how can the league claim it was just a hockey play? Or did the referee just wanted to get him out of the building knowing there was another period of hockey to play?

    It’s not a matter of intent. We need to take intent out of the conversation. This is where the NHL could learn from FIFA. In soccer a red card gets you an automatic game suspension and fine if not more depending on a subsequent hearing. To let Chara (or anyone else for that matter) go unpunished for such carelessness is a huge let down for the sport.

    What if it was your player, your teammate, or your brother at the hospital with a broken neck? How many parents want to let their kids play hockey now?

    Wishing Max full and speedy recovery.

    Hockey sucks. Go Habs Go.

  22. the nhl miss the boat by 20 miles at least, air canada is putting pressure and i hope all off the commercials firms will do accordingly, with money on the line the nhl should at least wake up, mr Murphy you should come back to reality,
    chara should be penalize for the consequences, wath are you waiting for a death on the ice

  23. I’ll agree the hit in itself was not dirty. That doesn’t mean the NHL
    didn’t mess up and get this one totally wrong for multiple reasons. One of
    them, and Murphy said it himself, is that they are basing this decision on
    Chara’s “intent”…. Well in that case, you’ll never suspend anyone, since
    you never know what the intent is/was, guys (not only Z) won’t ever come
    out and say there intent. As well, he said that since he didn’t have a
    suspension before, then he didn’t want to suspend him… Really? I
    certainly wish the penal system worked this way. Finally, the other issue
    is that they are only taking the action into account, and nothing else…
    Now, I still don’t think the hit in itself was dirty, but please don’t
    tell me Z wasn’t trying to smash him into the “stanchion” or whatever the
    hell they call it. He knew exactly where he was, especially since he was
    chasing Pacioretty. The league has to take the circumstances in to
    consideration, like the fact the two had a previous history, the fact that
    the media was making this game out to be WWIII and also the fact that the
    game was well out of reach at 4-0 and this play should NEVER have
    happened. And, anyone who says that Z couldn’t know who it was, that’s BS,
    he saw his NUMBERS the entire way. The act in itself may not have been
    malicious in itself, but there are too many other factors that were 100%
    overlooked. If this was Cooke of Gilles, they’d have been suspended for
    ever, but since Z has no history, the VP of operations didn’t feel like
    it?! BS! This is another awful black eye for hockey and this will be the
    only hockey highlights shown in the U.S. for the next 3 months, then
    they’ll call the NHL/hockey barbaric, sicne they let this slide. This was
    a perfect opportunity for the NHL to show they are actually serious about
    headshots (yes, his head hit first, and in a lot of pictures, you see Z’s
    top hand cruching Pacioretty’s cheek into the stanchion) and concussions,
    but dumbass bettman lets it slide, again. By the way, isn’t it ironic this
    whole thing occured on the 7 year anniversary (sp?) of the Moore/Bertuzzi
    incident? At least for that one, they did take circumstances into
    account… End rant!

  24. [...] Bolland Posted by Scott Lewis under News on Mar 10, 2011 The NHL may be coming under fire for its lack of discipline on Zdeno Chara, but Tampa’s Pavel Kubina wasn’t so lucky in escaping the hammer of justice on [...]

  25. I was not sure where to post this note; however, this seems the best fit. I waited with baited breath for Don Cherry’s comments tonight and I was not surprised by his support of “his” Boston Bruins. It is apparent that he and other dinosaurs should leave now, as I and I believe a number of other fans are tired of people making excuses for players like Chara. How stupid is it to say he has never been penalized before or taken to task for something else? Simply put he did not have to take the action he did. He may not have intended to hurt the player; however, I believe he was fully aware of what he was doing and intended to do. He intended to take the player (that shoved him in an earlier game) out with seconds left in a period in which his team was behind … and just last night he was at it again. To make an excuse that it is his size and put the blame on the Montreal Canadians for being a forward thinking organization and creating a hockey ring that maximizes the experience for its fans is simply stupid. To add to this mass of stupidy we got what I believer are Gary Bettman’s inappropriate comments in regards to Canadian sponsors. How stupid can one man be? Threaten not to use the services of Air Canada. I fully support forward thinking teams, owners, and sponsors. I no longer support Gary Bettman, Don Cherry, or the NHL. It is time for change. It is time for players to take responsibility for their actions and respect one another. Not to forget, Mario Lemieux’s career was ended early and he was recently critized for forward thinking just weeks ago when his start player was injured. It is time for the hockey rings, equipment, and uniforms to be made safer. It is time to implement a better system of tracking player incidents, if not already done so. It is time to implement changes to the game itself, such as automatic icing and no icing when you are down a man, including when the other team pulls their goaltender. It is time for change and some forward thinking for the future of the NHL, players, and fans.

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