Its too bad today’s post game report can’t be about Andrei Kostitsyn’s hot streak, or about Lars Eller finding his game, or even about the Habs rallying back from an embarrassing beat down in Boston not too long ago and winning a statement game 4-1 on home ice. All the talk is about the incident involving Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara. For those that somehow have not seen it yet, Chara interfered with Pacioretty along the boards and the end result was Pacioretty’s head being driven into the partition and then crashing hard onto the ice. Chara was given a 5 minute major for interference (I have NEVER seen that before) and was ejected from the game, rightfully so.
As per usual, when something happens in Montreal, everyone talks about it. Naturally, Boston fans think Chara deserves no additional punishment, while Montreal fans are hoping that the NHL hands down a lengthy suspension. Fans are the worst people to ask because they are the most biased. If Pacioretty did the same thing to Chara; I guarantee Habs fans would not feel MaxPac should be out for the remainder of the season, and I also guarantee that Boston fans would not feel that he deserves no additional games. I will try to be as objective as I can.
First of all, the argument from the Boston side that had the hit happened elsewhere nothing would have happened is ridiculous. It was not a legal hockey play, which is why a penalty was called. Also, there’s a reason why checking from behind, for example, usually results in additional suspensions when near the boards, as opposed to in open ice. Players need to be responsible for their actions, and knowing where you are is part of that. Therefore, Chara deserves at least some supplementary discipline.
On the other hand, the argument from the Montreal side that the play was premeditated and that Chara knew exactly what he was doing is equally absurd. This isn’t like the Bertuzzi on Moore hit where it was blatantly obvious that Bertuzzi was trying to injure Moore. The game moves so fast that it’s impossible to know for sure if Chara actually said to himself “I’m going to drive Pacoretty’s head into the pole because one time he pushed me after a goal” in the 2-3 seconds while the play developed. In fact, given his history (over 900 games played with 1 suspension of 1 game more than 5 years ago), I highly doubt that. Having said that, I don’t think Chara deserves an exorbitant number of games.
I think a 3 game suspension is more than fair. Anything less is a bit soft given the end result and anything more is a bit much for someone who is well respected and not a repeat offender. Regardless, here’s to hoping Max Pacioretty will make a full recovery and be back with the Canadiens, whether it be for the playoffs or for next season.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.