|Zdeno Chara avoids suspension, Bruins blue line avoids further depletion||03.09.11 at 4:23 pm ET|
After a whirlwind of online character assassination that started with 15.8 seconds remaining in the second period of Tuesday night’s loss to the Canadiens, Zdeno Chara learned Wednesday that while his reputation has taken a hit with some, his ice time will not.
NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy ruled Wednesday that Chara, who was given a rare interference major and a game misconduct after pushing Habs forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion alongside the boards, would not be suspended. With Colin Campbell not allowed to weigh in on matters involving the Bruins, Murphy made a decision that infuriated Canadiens fans and have pleasantly surprised some in Boston.
The Bruins can now consider themselves fortunate. Whether or not you believe there was intent on Chara’s part — personally, the intent on his finishing his hit on Pacioretty can’t be debated, though nothing the B’s captain has ever done would point to him purposely tossing someone’s head into a partition — a loss of Chara for a game or two would have really hurt a Bruins blue line that is already hurting. Andrew Ference (lower body) just began skating Wednesday, while Steve Kampfer (concussion) is still at least a few days from returning. Subtracting a guy who provides an automatic 25 minutes would have further depleted the B’s blue line.
Now, the Bruins can focus on business as usual as they prepare for the Sabres on Thursday. Still, the debate in the public likely won’t end any time soon. Chara’s been called a dirty player, with many assuming Chara was trying to injure Pacioretty.
“It’s always easy to criticize, it’s always easy to attack a guy,” Claude Julien said after Bruins practice on Wednesday. “If you take time to look at the situation, if you take time to see what he has to go through, there’s always going to be a challenge for him. The big bully because he’s 6-foot-9, yet he’s never shown that more than he’s defended himself, he’s defended his teammates. He’s always been a clean player.”
Chara has that much going for him. The one suspension he has received in his career was for an instigator penalty late in a game back in his days with the Senators. Wednesday, he did all the right things. He spoke with concern for Pacioretty’s well-being, but noted that where the play took place is what made it so unfortunate.
“It’s just one of those things of those things like glass extensions, doors, even hockey nets are part of the game. Obviously players run into them,” he said. “It’s just very, very, very unfortunate that a player got hurt. You have so many different occasions over the years. The percentage of players getting hurt is so slim, so small, but it does happen.”
Now that everything’s official, all that is left to do is debate the ruling and Chara’s intention. Throughout the Bruins’ room, the character of Chara is not in question, and it seems the league agrees.
WILMINGTON — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spoke briefly after the team’s practice Wednesday, reflecting on how things have been for him since he was ejected from Tuesday night’s game for hitting Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into the beginning of the glassed area between benches.
[Listen to Chara explain his position on the hit, how badly he feels and where he goes from here.]
[Bruins coach Claude Julien said this won’t change his view of Zdeno Chara, whom Julien believes is a clean hockey player.]
“It’s been hard,” Chara said. “Obviously I feel bad about what happened. I am trying to make strong hockey plays and play hard. It’s very unfortunate that a player got hurt and had to leave the game. It is in my mind.”
UPDATE: Chara had a hearing with the league via conference call at noon Wednesday and was later notified he would not be suspended or fined for the play, which left Pacioretty with a severe concussion and fractured vertebrea.
“We just described the play. We said things that we said, and we’re just waiting to hear back,” Chara said at the time.
The captain noted that he has not yet reached out to Pacioretty but plans on it.
|Max Pacioretty has severe concussion, fractured vertebrae||at 12:43 pm ET|
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin announced Wednesday that forward Max Pacioretty, who was motionless on the ice after taking a hit into a stanchion along the boards from Zdeno Chara Tuesday night, suffered a severe concussion and fractured the fourth cervical vertebrae.
‘Max will remain at the hospital for further observation,” Martin said in a statement. “There will be no other prognosis for the time being, but he will obviously be out indefinitely. The most important thing for our organization right now is Max’s recovery. We will continue following recommendations from the doctors and of course, Max and his immediate family would appreciate privacy in this matter.’
Chara will find out Wednesday whether he will be disciplined for the play, on which he received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
WILMINGTON — The Bruins returned to practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday after an ugly 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Tuesday.
Prior to the rest of the team taking the ice, a group of players consisting of Shane Hnidy, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartwkoswki, Daniel Paille and Brad Marchand took shots on goaltenders for Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. There were reports that Thomas may have suffered a hand injury Tuesday morning, but Thomas seems fine.
Zdeno Chara was on the ice when the rest of the team came out, which was a little after 12:40 p.m. We’re awaiting word on the result Chara’s call with the league this morning after he was tossed for a his hit on Max Pacioretty on Tuesday night. Word on Pacioretty via the Canadiens that the Habs forward suffered a fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion on the play.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Rich Peverley
Mark Recchi – Chris Kelly – Michael Ryder
Still no sign of Andrew Ference, though Matt Kalman at The Bruins Blog reported Wednesday that he skated earlier in the day.
|Zdeno Chara following Max Pacioretty hit: ‘That’s not my my style to hurt somebody’||03.08.11 at 10:53 pm ET|
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was given a five-minute interference major and a game misconduct when a hit along the boards forced Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty to hit his head on the glassed area and left him motionless on the ice. After the game, Chara spoke about the play.
“Obviously, that wasn’t my intention to push him into the post,” Chara told reporters following the game. “It’s very unfortunate. In that situation, everything’s happening fast, and you’re not planning to do that. That’s not my style to hurt somebody. I always play hard, play physical, but I never try to hurt anybody. I’m hoping he’s OK.”
“I think what people have to understand is Zdeno is not a dirty player,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said in his postgame interview with NESN’s Naoko Funayama. “He certainly never meant for that to happen. I think if anything he tried to rub him out in the boards. Unfortunately it’s the partition that did the damage. If it’s anywhere else on the ice, it might be a normal interference call at worst. Unfortunately he hit the partition. That’s something that we’ve happen often. I know there’s padding there and we’ve tried to rectify that as far as helping guys not get hie in that area, but it still continues to happen.”
|Canadiens gain ground as Bruins lose in Montreal||at 10:11 pm ET|
The Bruins were beaten handily Tuesday night, dropping a 4-1 contest to the Canadiens and losing their captain for the third period at the Bell Centre.
Canadiens forward Lars Eller scored two goals in the first period, with Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski adding power play goals in the second period. Eller entered the game with five goals through 61 games this season.
A very scary moment came with 15.8 seconds remaining in the second period, when Zdeno Chara finished a check along the boards on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty. The 22-year-old hit the glassed area between benches before falling to the ice, remaining motionless as he was placed on a stretcher. Chara was given a five-minute major for interference, as well as a game misconduct. Pacioretty was reportedly able to move his extremities after leaving for the hospital.
Tuukka Rask took the loss for the Bruins, losing his first game since Feb. 11. He allowed four goals on 24 shots.
The Bruins are now 1-3-1 against the rival Canadiens this season and 0-2-1 in games played at the Bell Centre. With the win, the Canadiens are now just three points behind the Bruins for the Northeast Division lead.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Pacioretty has used multiple occasions this season to establish himself as a villain in the eyes of Bruins fans, but the scene at the end of the period is as scary as it gets, regardless of who you root for. It’s hard to tell whether Chara, whose past dealings with the Habs’ agitator led to natural speculation following the hit, meant to go after Pacioretty, but the B’s captain has never been a dirty player. The guess here is that he wasn’t trying to start Tuesday.
– Brad Marchand had a chance to get the Bruins on the board earlier in the third period on a penalty shot after a trip from Roman Hamrlik, but was stopped after going low on Price. The B’s young winger also had an opportunity when Price dropped a puck right in front of him with the B’s killing a Tyler Seguin penalty in the first period.
– Adam McQuaid and Nathan Horton, both of whom entreated the game top five in plus/minus, both posted a minus-1 after being on the ice for Eller’s first goal. Of course, it was hard for Bruins players to not end up with a negative rating on a night like Tuesday. McQuaid and Horton entered the night first and fourth in the league with a plus-27 and plus-25, respectively.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Lucic is now one goal away from 30 goals in a season in which he hoped for 20. He took a nice pass from Krejci to get the Bruins on the board in the third period, and both players now have 12 points in their last nine games.
– The B’s once again went scoreless on the power play, making it 1-for-21 since Tomas Kaberle joined the team. The positive in that is that the four power plays were the most they’ve had since Kaberle’s first game with the team, when the B’s had five against the Senators on Feb. 18. Again, they still haven’t scored since that day.
– Kaberle isn’t known for shooting, and he proved it by totaling just five shots on goal over his first eight games with the B’s. His three shots on goal Tuesday were the most he’s posted as a member of the Bruins.
|What Zdeno Chara and the Bruins learned Saturday night||03.07.11 at 10:11 am ET|
One loss following a very impressive seven-game winning streak is hardly cause for alarm. And that’s especially true since the Bruins managed a point Saturday night when they didn’t play their best game and found a way to tie it with 32.5 seconds left in regulation.
But there was a lesson to be learned. Just asked Zdeno Chara. If you don’t skate hard against a hungry team, you’ll likely wind up on the losing end.
The captain gave the Bruins the lead, 1-0, just under eight minutes into the second period. But from then on, the B’s seem to take a collective breath and relax as the Pens picked up their intensity and took it to them in every way.
They took more shots, delivered more hits and until the final 33 seconds, scored more goals.
“We didn’t have our best game, that’s for sure,” Chara said. “We were just, we had heavy legs, we didn’t skate well, we didn’t move the puck well. On the other side Pittsburgh played extremely well. They put a lot of pressure on us. They took away space and time and we couldn’t create much.”
All of this from a Penguins team that came in losing 6-of-7 and had lost in overtime 24 hours earlier in New Jersey.
“I think it was mostly us, we weren’t moving our feet at all,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We were second to the puck. At the same time, you couldn’t establish a physical game because you never got there on time. So they were on the puck and we were doing a lot of watching, I thought in the second period and they just took the game away from us at that point.”
“They even they had back to back games,” Chara added. “They had pretty good jump and energy. It almost felt like we were the team who played last night. But it’s going to happen. You’re going to have games like this where we were just slow and not moving the puck as well as we used to. But we worked extremely hard in the third and earned that point. That’s the positive. Obviously we’d like to get two but it happens.”
But now, following the end of the winning streak, the Bruins know they have to pick it back up with a big division game Tuesday night in Montreal. The Canadiens have won four straight and 5-of-6. They trail the Bruins by just five points in the Northeast.
No reason for the Bruins not to have their legs under them for this one.
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