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Chara + Pacioretty

March 9, 2011

 

Not a good scene, not a good scene at all. In the Habs v. Bruins game last night, which I was unable to watch in real-time, Max Pacioretty wound up drilled into the glass and stanchions between benches by Chara very late into the second. It was a stomach-sinking sort of feeling watching the footage and the reaction of players, trainers, coaches and fans alike at the the Bell Centre.

There will be much discussion in the coming hours with respect to what, if any, suspension Chara deserves. I naturally have a bias, but, I can’t see Chara reasonably receiving any suspension. If he did, anything more than two games would be inappropriate. If a suspension were served, it would be for symbolic purpose, anyhow. It would be more of a “be careful” message to players than an honest-to-goodness punishment. It was without a doubt interference. But to ascribe meaning or intent wider than that would be wrong, given Chara’s record and the unfortunate nature of the incident. For the good of the game, we all hope Pacioretty will be okay. It seemed like a high-speed hit gone wrong. Chara was not even looking—and while it may have appeared his elbow raised up and hit Pacioretty, I think Chara wasn’t aware of the fact Pacioretty had yet to clear the open space to the glass. Bad timing. Bad fortune. When the NHL reviews the play, I do hope they see that. Because, if suspensions are to be doled out more judiciously this season and in the future of the NHL, they must be doled out both when they count, when they are necessary, and wisely withheld when they are not. For suspensions to hold meaning, they must not only be tough, but they must be deserved.

And I think Chara doesn’t deserve it.

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