|Canadiens fans call for Zdeno Chara’s arrest, Air Canada threatens to withdraw sponsorship||03.09.11 at 7:11 pm ET|
Canadiens fans have a hard time being taken seriously in Boston, and they’ve really hurt their case this time.
According to the Canadian Press, Montreal police have been ‘inundated’ with phone calls demanding Bruins captain Zdeno Chara‘s arrest. Chara was not suspended Wednesday after his hit on Max Pacioretty sent the Canadiens forward into a stanchion and left him with a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae.
The calls reportedly began coming in heavily in the minutes following the league’s ruling to not suspend the Bruins’ captain. The police have requested the fans stop.
Meanwhile, in a matter to be taken a bit more seriously, Air Canada has reacted to the hit by threatening to withdraw its sponsorship if the league doesn’t take “immediate” and “serious” action against head shots.
Director of Marketing and Communications Denis Vandal sent what the Toronto Sun called a “strongly worded letter” to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
“From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality,” Vandal wrote.
“Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.”
|Steve Montador: ‘I think Zee knew what he was doing’||at 7:00 pm ET|
Steve Montador, who played 13 games for the Bruins in the 2008-09 season after being acquired at the trade deadline, appeared on WGR 550 Sports Radio in Buffalo Wednesday (audio), opening his appearance with fascinating talk about the B’s captain.
Montador, who said he was “pretty scared and pretty shocked” when he saw the hit, went into detail in describing Chara’s character and what he thinks of himself.
“He has this — and I say this in a good way — a complex that he’s the biggest, strongest guy in the league, and for the most part he probably is,” Montador said. “I think that he uses that just because he feels that mentality.
“One thing about Zee that I recall when he and I and Mark Recchi were talking was that he had a lot of respect for Mark. When [Recchi] got traded there, [Chara] was talking to him saying, ‘I remember one game when you came after me and kept hitting me,’ and here’s [Recchi], who at the time would have been 40 years old, and he’s going after Zdeno Chara and kept going and kept going.
“He had a lot of respect for that, because I think he thought, ‘Hey, I’m Zdeno Chara. I’m the biggest guy in the league,’ and Mark Recchi, although he’s a really thick and strong guy — he’s not the tallest guy — here is coming after him, and [Chara] was kind of wondering, ‘What’s this guy, is he on something or whatever? He keeps coming after me.’ The only reason I tell that story is to just give a sense of how he thinks about himself.”
Montador said that he has never found Chara to be “overly dirty,” but said that “he’s certainly somebody that in some instance you don’t want to be going into the corner with.”
He added that he thought Chara would be suspended for one or two games, and was slightly surprised by the league’s ruling to not suspend the 6-foot-9 defenseman. He also noted that he doesn’t completely buy the idea that Chara didn’t know that Pacioretty’s head could have hit the partition on the play.
“It’s easy for me from this side to speculate, but that part of the rink in Montreal, where the benches are, I’d like to think that everybody, unless it’s their first game there on the first shift — they might not be 100 percent aware of it — but having played against Montreal a bunch with Boston and with Buffalo ‘¦ you’re pretty familiar with the ice,” he said.
“I got a sense that Zee meant to hit him in the way that he did, but I don’t think in any way that he wanted the outcome to be the way that it did. The puck had already been chipped past Zee. Maybe just the emotion of that game and from games previous [led to it].
“I think Zee knew what he was doing there, but like I said, in no way would I think that he’d want to hurt him like that.”
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.”