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The Chara case comes to a close

August 1, 2011

Media sources sympathetic to the plight of Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara have been breathing a sigh of relief these past few days. Details of the investigation and its status have sort of been slowly and hazily leaking out. We know Chara was interviewed by Canadian authorities in Boston July 9th.

Two days ago reported that Chiarelli noted Chara’s lawyer said the meeting “went well.” It’s not too bold to posit that had the Bruins not won the Stanley Cup, there might be more interest in this case right now.

What’s incredible is that this case made the hockey world hysterical for a few weeks in March. But it has now been all but forgotten about.

Why is that?

Is it because Pacioretty looks to make a full recovery, after a hit that look so gruesome that it might be lethal?

Is it a function of the media cycle? One thing to the next?

Or maybe the fact the Bruins faced the Canadiens in a full seven-game rout this year, clearing the air, settling whatever scores needed to be settled, albeit without Pacioretty in the line-up.

For so many reasons the police investigation was a farce: this was no Bertuzzi sucker punch. This was an accident. Chara’s history demonstrates as much. Dialing 9-1-1? Really? At his height, he’s had plenty of opportunities to rub someone out along the boards in a manner that would cause grave harm. And yet he has. Just like any criminal investigation, or sentencing, a judge reviews prior action–the NHL did so, and did not issue a suspension. The police of Montreal are doing so as well, and hopefully the even-handedness they’d apply to other individuals is there. Certainly, I’d think all involved parties would be happy to see this process through and be done. And surely Habs fans are eager to put this chapter behind them, too.

October 27th will be the first time in the 2011-2012 season the teams meet. It will be in Boston.

How this tale goes down in the history of the Bruins 2011 Cup win is yet to be determined. Is it a dark mark? Or a sign of resilience? Chara’s play suffered in the wake of the incident–he was shaken, badly. But he rebounded. The amount of emotion stirred in the incident is a testament to the power of hockey in Canada, and to the degree of concern over head injuries. Both of those are admirable and worth pondering as the NHL moves forward. But it is still important to understand what this incident was: an accident.


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