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WEEI.com Bruins chat at 2:00 03.24.11 at 12:31 pm ET
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Talk about the Bruins with WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean. Topics sure to be hit on include Thursday’s tilt with the Canadiens and the Bruins’ accusations that Montreal embellished Max Pacioretty’s injury.

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Zdeno Chara reached out to Max Pacioretty after hit 03.23.11 at 2:35 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — To the surprise of nobody, both Boston and Montreal media surrounded Zdeno Chara‘s spot in the dressing room after Bruins’ practice Wednesday. With the B’s and Habs facing off Thursday for the first time since March 8′s 4-1 Canadiens win, the attention naturally turns to the Bruins captain, who was tossed from the game after hitting Habs forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion.

Chara received major criticism from fans north of the border, and a criminal investigation was even launched into whether the play served as grounds for assault charges. Chara, who was not suspended for the hit, said there might not be a point in trying to change people’s minds.

“It’s tough to really address that,” Chara said. “I don’t know if I should even try. It’s one of those things where they probably are beleiving one thing, and it’s really hard to explain that it just happened.

“I can’t control how they talk about me, or what they say about me. I just try to focus on my game.”

After being initially diagnosed with a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae, Pacioretty, who said he felt Chara intended to harm him, has not spoken to the Bruins’ captain.

“I made a few attempts,” Chara said. “I’m waiting for some kind of response back, but so far nothing.”

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Don Cherry on D&C: Matt Cooke is ‘a little rat,’ Mario Lemieux ‘one of the biggest phonies’ 03.22.11 at 9:20 am ET
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CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Matt Cooke suspension, what could happen the next time Zdeno Chara travels to Montreal and the recent slide of the Bruins.

After a seven-game winning streak that seemed to announce the Bruins as serious Stanley Cup contenders, the club has struggled, posting a 1-3-3 mark in its last seven games. Cherry was asked if the Bruins were built for a deep postseason run.

“There’s something wrong there,” said Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-79. “Right now, there’s something wrong with that team. When they came into Toronto, and they were absolutely awful. But if you’re going to take a swoon, this is the time to do it. I would like to see [Shawn] Thornton play. He hasn’t played that much since [Chris] Kelly came to Boston. … I would play Thornton a regular shift because he’s the Bruins for sure.”

The NHL suspended Penguins forward Cooke for the final 10 games of the regular season plus the entire first round of the playoffs on Monday, the fifth suspension in Cooke’s 12-year career. Cooke, of course, was not suspended for the elbow to the head of Marc Savard last year, which directly caused what might turn out to be a career-ending concussion for the Bruins center. Cherry feels if Cooke had been properly disciplined for the Savard hit it might have prevented the elbow to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that led to Cooke’s suspension.

“He should have been tossed for what happened to Savard, but they said they didn’t have a rule,” Cherry said. “The guy never even got four minutes or anything for that. If he had got [suspended for] 20 games then, maybe he would have been straightened out. He should have been suspended for what he did to Savard and he got his comeuppance. … They should have given him 20-30 games back then and it might have straightened the little rat out.”

Cherry added that Mario Lemieux, who complained about dirty play following last month’s game against the Islanders, is “one of the biggest phonies I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“He says, ‘we have to get ride of headshots,’ and the [president], Dave Morehouse, says ‘we have to get rid of headshots,’ and [general manager] Ray Shero, who I really like, says the same thing. What happens? They’ve got the [biggest] headshot guy of all time, they’re paying his paychecks. What a bunch of hypocrites, I’ll tell you.”

Chara was not suspended for his March 8 hit of Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture of cervical vertebrae. This led to outrage throughout Montreal, and Montreal police did open a criminal investigation against Chara. Cherry was asked if the Boston defenseman has reason to be concerned about future trips to Montreal.

“Who’s going to arrest him? That’s not going to happen. And the Canadiens have really have nobody to do anything to him,” Cherry said. “Who would? And if the game is close, nothing is going to happen. He’s too big, too strong. … There’s no way he did that to that guy [on purpose], he was just taking that guy out. And I really give it to the owners — the Molsons — they didn’t have enough padding on that turnbuckle. It should have been padded, the kid would have bounced right off.”

To hear the interview, click here.

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Zdeno Chara appreciates the ‘nice gesture’ of Max Pacioretty 03.10.11 at 11:27 pm ET
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It’s been a bizarre 24 hours for Zdeno Chara, Max Pacioretty and the NHL to say the very least.

On Wednesday night, Pacioretty said he was ‘disgusted’ that Chara wasn’t fined or suspended for the hit on Tuesday night that gave him a severe concussion and broke a vertebrae in his back.

Then Thursday, Pacioretty showed his support of a fellow NHL combatant by publicly denouncing any effort by Montreal authorities to criminally prosecute Chara for a hit that happened in the course of a game.

Following Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Sabres, Chara said he was relieved to be back playing and appreciated the words earlier in the day from Pacioretty.

“It’s obviously a nice gesture,” Chara said. “It’s something that, for sure, shouldn’t go that far. It’s something, like I said, very unfortuante. I keep repeating that. You feel bad about it. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt and especially, in that case, upper body, and most likely, neck and head.”

Word came on Thursday that Montreal authorities plan an investigation to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against Chara, whose hit into the turnbuckle at center ice gave Pacioretty a severe concussion and fractured a vertabrae in his back.

“We all feel bad about it,” Chara said. “It doesn’t matter, rivalry or no rivalry, we all want to see the guy recover and obviously, I’m going to try and reach out to him and talk to him either over the phone or try to see him in person. But I totally understand and respect that now he probably needs time and space and to be around his closest family. I’m sure when the time is right, I’ll probably reach out and talk and somehow connect.”

For Chara, he was just glad to be back on the ice, focusing on hockey, not hearings.

“That’s obviously one of those things I’d love to do,” Chara said. “Playing hockey is obviously my most important thing. To be on the ice that’s for sure the most important.”

It was a home crowd that chanted his name during his first shift in the opening minute.

“For sure, it’s something I very much appreciated and I’m very thankful for that. It feels for sure great to be home and to get that support from the fans,” he added.

He even showed in the first period that he’s not going to change his physical play because of Tuesday when he drilled Jason Pominville into the corner boards on a very clean but hard hit.

“I don’t see any reason to change my game or my style of play,” Chara said. “I’m going to continue to play physical and play hard. That’s my game and I don’t see any reason to change.”

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Zdeno Chara insists he didn’t know it was Max Pacioretty at the time at 12:10 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara says he was unaware at the time that he hit Max Pacioretty, a player with whom he has a history. (AP)

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spoke to the media Thursday morning, doing so for the first time since learning that he would not be suspended for his hit that left Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty hospitalized with a severe concussion and fractured vertebrea. Following the ruling, Pacioretty lashed out to TSN, saying the he was “disgusted” that Chara, who he felt intended to injure him, was not punished.

“I mean, I totally understand,” Chara said of Pacioretty’s reaction to the ruling. “He’s in the hospital, so he’s got the right to be emotional, and I respect that. I obviously feel bad that he got hurt. As a player, as a hockey player, we all feel bad when something like that happens. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the home team or the visiting team.

“Obviously I’m wishing him a fast recovery, and hopefully he can be back on the ice soon. That’s all we’ll have to do. We play hockey. Obviously when we go out there, we take risk, and sometimes we do get hurt. It’s just very unfortunate.”

One reason that Chara has been put in such a negative light over the play is because of his history with Pacioretty. The B’s captain got tangled up with the Habs forward in each of the team’s previous meetings, as Pacioretty shoved Chara after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime on Jan. 8 and jumped Chara’s defensive partner in Steven Kampfer on Feb. 9. Chara insisted Thursday that he didn’t even know it was Pacioretty when he hit him.

“It was the face-off, and we tried to set up a play, and basically the puck went to the other side, and we were racing for the puck,” Chara said. “I had no idea he was on the ice. I had no idea it was him.”

Chara also touched on the possibility of a criminal charges, as Montreal police have launched an investigation.

“I got some media information on that this morning, but right now I’m focusing on my game and playing hockey,” he said. “We’ll see.”

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Steve Kampfer, friend of Max Pacioretty: ‘I feel for both parties’ at 11:47 am ET
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Steven Kampfer and Max Pacioretty were teammates at Michigan.

When it comes to the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry, there usually isn’t a fence on which to sit. You’re either all black and gold all the time, or you live for the Habs.

Yet it in the days following Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty, Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer has both parties in mind. A college teammate of Pacioretty’s, Kampfer reached out to Alec Schall, who represents both players.

“I’ve talked to our agent. I was on the phone with my agent after the hit, just trying to see what the feeling was, if he had talked to his parents,” Kampfer said Thursday.

“You feel bad for him, especially knowing him and knowing Zee. I feel bad for both of them because of the whole situation. From what I’ve heard, Max is doing very well, better than anticipated, so I’m happy to hear that for him.”

It wasn’t long ago that both Kampfer and Pacioretty were using Schall as a mediator as they vented frustrations from an incident on Feb. 9. After Brad Marchand hit James Wisniewski after a whistle, Pacioretty jumped Kampfer, which left the B’s defenseman frustrated with his former teammate after the game. That’s been forgotten, Kampfer said Thursday, and even shared that he had entertained the idea of making Pacioretty the opponent in his still-non-existent first NHL fight.

“The thing — I guess we both kind of left it out — we had talked about it before the game, if we were ever in a situation like that, then we’d go. I just didn’t think he’d horse-caller me to go,” Kampfer said with a laugh.

Kampfer, caught of guard by the play, had Chara come to his defense following the play, and it stands as one of two notable encounters that Chara has had with Pacioretty this season.

“I think when somebody sees something like that, obviously Zee’s going to jump in, but at the same time, he’s a good player,” Kampfer said of the incident and Pacioretty. “I think he’s going to be a great player later in his career, but right now, we all hope and pray that he’s going to get better. Slowly but surely he’ll get back on the ice.”

Kampfer, who noted that Pacioretty has been considered a “celebrity” in the hospital after the hit left him severely concussed and with a fractured vertebrae, wants to stay in touch with Pacioretty as he tries to make a return to the ice. The B’s blueliner is no stranger to having to make a tough recovery, as he cracked his skull when he was assaulted by a football player at Michigan and was attacked by two Michigan State players on the ice three months later.

Still, given his relationship with Chara, who has taken an interest in the youngster’s development since he was called up in December, Kampfer admits that he is “torn.”

“You feel for both parties. You feel for Zee, and you feel for Max. It’s a tough situation there, and at the same time, you don’t ever want to see a player get hurt, especially in a hockey game and especially to the severity of that happening to him. You can say you’re torn.

“I’ve gone through it. I know what it’s like to have an injury like that, so it’s like I told our agent. I’ll be the first one to talk to Max if he wants to talk because I’ve gone through this before. I can definitely give him some pointers along the way of what he’s going to expect and what he’s going to encounter. At the same time I support Zee. He’s essentially my mentor and I’m learning a lot of things from him. I believe what he said is what happened.”

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Max Pacioretty ‘disgusted’ league didn’t suspend Zdeno Chara 03.09.11 at 10:30 pm ET
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Max Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae. (AP)

An upset Max Pacioretty spoke to TSN’s Bob McKenzie Wednesday night, doing little to hide his feelings a day after a Zdeno Chara hit into a stanchion along the boards left him with a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae.

“I am upset and disgusted that the league didn’t think enough of (the hit) to suspend him,” Pacioretty told McKenzie. “I not mad for myself, I’m mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it’s okay, they won’t be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt.

“It’s been an emotional day. I saw the video for the first time this morning. You see the hit, I’ve got a fractured vertebrae, I’m in hospital and I thought the league would do something, a little something. I’m not talking a big number, I don’t know, one game, two games, three games…whatever, but something to show that it’s not right.”

Chara said both after the game and after Wednesday’s practice that he did not intend to hurt the 22-year-old forward, and that the fact that he went into the turnbuckle was “very, very, very unfortunate.” Pacioretty isn’t buying it.

“I heard (Chara) said he didn’t mean to do it,” Pacioretty told TSN. “I felt he did mean to do it. I would feel better if he said he made a mistake and that he was sorry for doing that, I could forgive that, but I guess he’s talking about how I jumped up or something.

“I believe he was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle. We all know where the turnbuckle is. It wasn’t a head shot like a lot of head shots we see but I do feel he targeted my head into the turnbuckle.”

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