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Zdeno Chara’s case closed with Quebec police 11.17.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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We’ll keep this is short as possible in an attempt to finally put this ridiculous topic to bed. Quebec’s director of criminal prosecutions released the following statement regarding the criminal investigation on Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty last March:

“After carefully examining all the information provided in this affair, the (office) is not reasonably convinced it could establish evidence of guilt.”

Case closed.

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Max Pacioretty’s return means he should face Bruins 10.27.11 at 2:23 am ET
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Max Pacioretty is healthy and ready to face the Bruins. (AP)

People found it surprising when Habs forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a wrist injury earlier in the week, took the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate. What was even more surprising was that Jacques Martin then said he’d be a game-time decision for Wednesday night’s game against the Flyers. The surprising news day regarding the young Habs winger ended with Pacioretty not only playing, but scoring twice in the Habs’ 5-1 win (the victory perhaps the biggest the biggest surprise of all).

That means that, assuming he didn’t re-aggravate  anything, Pacioretty will be in the lineup Thursday against the Bruins, making it the first time he’s faced the B’s since March 8 of last season. That would be the last game he’d play that season, as a shove into the stanchion from Zdeno Chara at Bell Centre left him concussed and a fractured vertebra.

Pacioretty travelled with the Habs in the first round of the playoffs, so he’s been to Boston since all of the Chara/Mark Recchi hullabaloo. The last time he played at the Garden was the Feb. 9 fight night between the Bruins and Habs, which the B’s won, 8-6. Pacioretty jumped Steven Kampfer in the second period of that game, after a Brad Marchand hit on James Wisniewski caused fireworks between the two teams. Pacioretty’s actions drew the attention of Chara, who came to the defense of Kampfer.

Chara didn’t say much when asked about Pacioretty Wednesday, saying he was just excited for the games against the Canadiens.

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Montreal police to question Zdeno Chara over hit on Max Pacioretty 06.28.11 at 12:19 pm ET
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The police still intend to question Zdeno Chara over the play that ended Max Pacioretty's season. (AP)

In wake of Zdeno Chara‘s March 8 hit on Max Pacioretty in Montreal, police said a criminal investigation would be tricky at the time given that many of the people they’d need to speak to had seasons to finish.

Now that the season is over, it appears that Montreal police still intend to speak to Chara about the play, which sent Pacioretty’s head into a stanchion and left Habs fans calling the cops. The investigation will be conducted to determine whether there was criminal intent on the part of Chara, who had a history with Pacioretty due to runs the Habs rookie had taken at the B’s captain and his defensive partner on Feb. 9 in Steven Kampfer.

According to CBC News, Sgt. Ian Lafreniere has indicated the investigation is near completion, but that they still need to speak to Chara.

“We haven’t met Chara, we don’t have his version of the facts, and also at the end of it, [a report is] going to be presented to a crown prosecutor, and this is the person who will decide whether there will be some accusations,” he said.

Chara, who was given an interference major and tossed from the game, was not suspended for the play, and Pacioretty missed the rest of the season with head and vertebrae injuries. Pacioretty recently expressed his frustration with the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup given that he felt the Canadiens could have beaten the B’s in the first round if they had a healthy roster, one that would have included him had the play not occurred.

The play and the different reactions led to extra attention being placed on Chara, as well as the rivalry between the two teams. Prior to the March 24 meeting between the two clubs (their first meeting since the Pacioretty incident), multiple members of the Bruins suggested the injuries to Pacioretty weren’t as bad as initially stated, suggesting embellishment on the part of the Habs. Pacioretty had tweeted from a movie theatre days after the hit, which led to some questioning his concussion, as people with severe concussions generally can’t be around bright lights. After the B’s blanked the Habs on March 24, Mark Recchi, who most famously called out the Habs, said he had done so to create a distraction, thus taking pressure off of Chara.

The report states that Chara will be questioned in the coming weeks.

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Max Pacioretty obviously upset Bruins won the Stanley Cup 06.22.11 at 12:01 am ET
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Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty signed a two-year contract extension with the team this week, and upon signing told The Score that he could not watch the Bruins celebrate winning the Stanley Cup last week given that the Habs nearly eliminated the B’s in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Pacioretty did not play in the series, of course, as he missed the rest of the season after a March 8 hit into the stanchion at the Bell Centre from Zdeno Chara left him severely concussed and with a fractured vertebrae.

“I’m going to be dead honest with you, I actually turned the game off when I knew it was over. I didn’t want to see any of that,” Pacioretty said of the celebration. “Just knowing that that team won the Cup was definitely hard, because I know that we were so close to beating them.

“Maybe if we had a full roster, we would have beaten them. It’s unfortunate, but it’s given me a lot of motivation this summer, and I hope to use it to be strength and be able to do whatever it takes to get ready for next year and hopefully be the one lifting the Cup next year.”

Pacioretty’s recovery from his concussion has gone well, much like that of Nathan Horton, who was lost for the rest of the Stanley Cup finals in Game 3 on a head shot from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. A host of the show asked the Habs forward a very leading question, seemingly to get him to call out Horton for embellishing much like Mark Recchi did of Pacioretty, but Pacioretty, who had tweeted his well-wishes for Horton at the time of the Rome hit, was just happy to see that his rival was OK.

“Concussions are a weird thing. Everyone’s brain is different, so it doesn’t matter really how hard you’re hit or how hard you’re knocked out for. Everyone’s brain reacts differently,” he said. “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.”

As for Recchi’s and many people on Twitter’s reaction to him seeing a movie days after his concussion, Pacioretty still seemed a bit burned.

“It definitely shows the type of fans that Boston Bruins fans are,” Pacioretty said, “because I definitely still — I try not to look at it, but through Twitter I still get some pretty nasty stuff regarding embellishing injury, and it’s sad that people can actually think that way, especially after it happens to someone on their own team.”

The NHL reworded Rule 48, which focuses on hits to the head, on Tuesday. Pacioretty has made his thoughts on Chara’s hit very public, and was outwardly disappointed with the league when Chara was not suspended. He hasn’t let up on his line of thinking.

“It was definitely frustrating,” he said of the fact that Chara, who was tossed from the game, was not suspended. “It’s like what everybody really talks about. They’ve got to stay consistent with head shots. It might not be the same type of head shot as everyone else’s experiences, but everyone who plays hockey knows that that’s an illegal play. I mean, he 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, so I definitely would have liked to see something. That didn’t happen, but 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 definitely no place for it.

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Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘The glove got stuck. I paid my fine’ 04.25.11 at 10:06 am ET
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Andrew Ference

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the playoff series vs. the Canadiens. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Ference was fined $2,500 for giving the middle finger to the Canadiens crowd after scoring in Game 4. He still insists his glove got stuck and it was not intentional. “I’m standing by it,” he said. “It would be a lot more interesting if I didn’t. But I paid the fine for it. I’m glad it wasn’t on purpose or else I could get suspended. … The glove got stuck. I paid my fine.”

Discussing the fact that there is so much violence on the ice and he got fined for something that did not hurt anyone physically, Ference said: “We’re a sport of contradictions. It kind of fits our little world that we live in. We have some crazy violence in our sport, but we’re also pretty easy guys to get along with, to go out for a beer with.”

Ference said he’s prepared for the Montreal crowd to boo him Tuesday night. “I’d much rather hear that than their cheering and their little song that they’ve got there,” he said, adding: “It’s fun. Honestly, it’s awesome. We go up there and it is a crazy place to play because they’re nuts about hockey and about their team. … Honestly, that’s pretty cool to play in front of. It’s great to play at home where everybody’s cheering you on, but to have that many people who really hate your team, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun.”

Injured Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty tweeted a joke about Bruins rookie Brad Marchand‘s big nose during Saturday night’s game (he later removed the tweet and apologized). Ference responded with sarcasm. “That’s way worse than the bird. That’s going after somebody’s physical appearance. We never bug Marchand about his nose. I didn’t even notice it was big. Is it big?” he said to laughs from the hosts.

Added Ference: “God forbid the time when we get that politically correct.”

Asked if it’s difficult to bounce back from an overtime loss — or win — and be ready to play right from the start in the next game, Ference said the veterans shouldn’t have any problem. “I think guys are pretty good about walking away from games and kind of hitting reset,” he said. “I don’t know — everybody’s different. When you’re real young it’s harder to control your emotions. But when you get older or have been to the playoffs a couple of times, like most of our guys on our team have, it’s a lot easier to move past either one of [a win or a loss].”

Ference said the margin between winning or losing these tight games often is “dumb luck” and that he enjoys the extra sessions. “I actually like overtime better than the regular game because there’s no TV timeouts. You just go, and it really goes by fast,” he said. “If you can roll your lines and your defense pairs, you can get into a very good rhythm.

“I love overtime. Everybody in the stands is going crazy. Every shot, you’re kind of holding your breath, for and against. It’s great. It’s enjoyable. It’s fun to play in.”

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Brad Marchand not focusing on Max Pacioretty’s tweet, or going anywhere near twitter 04.24.11 at 12:43 am ET
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Bruins forward Brad Marchand would have been a popular guy either way on Saturday night, as he scored the Bruins’ lone goal of regulation in a game the B’s went on to win in double overtime. Yet before he even put his first career playoff goal past Carey Price more than four minutes into the third period, there was a buzz surrounding the 22-year-old thanks to injured Habs forward Max Pacioretty.

Out since taking a hit into the stanchion on March 8 from Zdeno Chara, Pacioretty tweeted after the second period that “this game is longer than marchands [sic] nose.”

At times a very interesting quote during the regular season, Marchand did not take the bait Saturday, downplaying the significance of the tweet, which Pacioretty later deleted and apologized for.

“I don’t know what kind of reaction I should [have],” Marchand said. “It happens.”

Minutes after the tweet surfaced, Marchand scored to give the B’s a 1-0 lead.

“I didn’t know [about the tweet at the time].” he said. “I scored quickly after, but it’s always nice to just kind of rub it in a little.”

The rookie winger did note that he will not get on twitter, saying “twitter is not for me” and adding that he would probably get himself in trouble if he began using it.

Asked whether he feels he’s a bit more creative with his trash talk, Marchand laughed and said “yeah, on the ice, but that’s going to stay on the ice.”

Marchand’s fellow rookies, Tyler Seguin and Steven Kampfer, are the only Bruins using twitter.

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Nathan Horton sinks Habs in double overtime 04.23.11 at 11:07 pm ET
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By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin

Nathan Horton delivered the game-winner for the Bruins in double overtime on Saturday. (AP)

Nathan Horton beat Carey Price on a rebound with 10:57 remaining in the second overtime Saturday, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win in Game 5 and a 3-2 series lead.

Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board at 4:33 of the third period, beating Price for his first career playoff goal. The lead would later be relinquished as Jeff Halpern tied it at 13:56, breaking up Tim Thomas‘s shutout bid.

In skating to more than two scoreless periods, the teams made the 44 minutes of shutout hockey the longest a game in the series had gone without a goal. Prior to Saturday, a goal had been scored no later than 8:13 into the first period.

The teams will next play on Tuesday in Montreal for Game 6 at the Bell Centre; a win will permit the Bruins to advance to the conference semi-finals. If necessary, Game 7 will be played the following day at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Milan Lucic finally got involved on offense. After leading the team in goals during the regular season and tying for the team lead in points, he had just five shots and no points through the first four games of the series. He got the primary assist on the game-winner, and he did a much better job of making his presence known in Game 5. He led all skaters with seven shots on goal, consistently went in hard on the forecheck and found himself with a few quality scoring chances around the net.

- Lucic wasn’t the only one shooting for the Bruins in the first period, as their 12 shots on Price marked just the second time this series that the Bruins have hit double-digits in first-period shots on goal. It didn’t pay off Saturday for either team, but the B’s have the right idea.

- Michael Ryder was a temporary fan-favorite before the game thanks to his Game 4 heroics, but the crowd really took it to a new level in the first period when Ryder made what at the time was the save of the game, stopping Tomas Plekanec with Thomas way out of the net.

In addition to his work as a part-time netminder (he actually played the position in ball hockey back in his Canadiens days), Ryder continued to get chances Saturday as well, though none made their way past Price.

- Marchand came up with a clutch goal on a night in which he’d been made popular for the wrong reasons. First, he nearly went face-first into the ice in the second period while attempting to throw down with Plekanec on a play that earned each player a roughing minor.

At the second period’s conclusion, Max Pacioretty — possessing villain status around these parts for shoving Zdeno Chara and jumping Steven Kampfer at different points this season, but more widely recognized as the victim of Chara/a Montreal stanchion from March 8 — tweeted that the game was “longer than marchands [sic] nose.” Pacioretty deleted the tweet shortly after and apologized.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins probably would have preferred it if Benoit Pouliot remained in the lineup for the Habs, as Halpern was able to score the equalizer in his second game back in the lineup. Halpern got back in for the Canadiens on Thursday after missing Games 1 and 2 with a lower-body injury.

- Boston struggled in the faceoff circle, as Montreal won 33 of 57 draws through the end of regulation. The subpar performance on draws didn’t have a huge effect on the game until they lost a defensive zone faceoff that directly led to Halpern’s game-tying goal late in the third. The Canadiens were also able to kill some time when the Bruins were on the power play by winning faceoffs in their own end and sending the puck down the river. The B’s actually did a much better job in the first overtime, winning 14 of the 20 draws in the frame.

- The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the power play — including missing out on a chance to end it with a man advantage in the first overtime — and are now 0-for-15 in the series. They got some nice setups and some decent looks at the net, but they need to find a way to score on the man advantage, plain and simple. They still seem too lackadaisical when it comes to getting traffic in front and digging for rebounds. Shots from the point can be the best power-play strategy when you’re getting screens, deflections and rebounds, but the Bruins aren’t getting much of any of that right now. They’re starting to get some dirty goals at even strength; now they just have to carry that over to the power play.

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