Montreal cops investigating hockey hit
Montreal's Max Pacioretty lies on the ice after a hit from Boston's Zdeno Chara Tuesday night.
March 10th, 2011
12:43 PM ET

Montreal cops investigating hockey hit

Police in Montreal said Thursday they will investigate a hit in Tuesday night's National Hockey League game as a possible crime, Canadian media report.

The hit by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara on the Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty left Pacioretty with a severe concussion and a fractured vertebra, according to a CTV report.

Chara was given two penalties on the play and ejected from the game. On Wednesday, the NHL said the penalties assessed on the ice were appropriate and it would take no further action.

But Quebec's top prosecutor, Louis Dionne, asked for the police investigation after watching video of the play, the CBC reported.

In the play, Pacioretty skates with the puck in front of the bench area of Montreal's Bell Centre as Chara comes alongside and tries to push Pacioretty into the boards along the benches. Pacioretty's head slams violently into a glass stanchion separating the two benches. Pacioretty was face-down on the ice for several minutes.

NHL Senior Vice President Mike Murphy called the hit "a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface," CTV reported.

Chara said Wednesday he did not try to harm Pacioretty.

“Obviously I feel bad about what happened. I was trying to make a strong hockey play and play hard. It was just very, very unfortunate that the player got hurt and had to leave the game,” the Boston Herald quoted him as saying.

"It was just one of those things. These things, like glass extensions, doors, even hockey nets, are part of the game. Obviously, players run into them. It’s just very, very unfortunate that a player got hurt,” he said.

The NHL's decision not to further discipline Chara didn't sit well with Canadiens fans. Their calls flooded a police emergency call center in Montreal after the league's announcement Wednesday asking police to take action, the CBC reported.

Pacioretty was also upset with the league.

"I am upset and disgusted that the league didn't think enough of [the hit] to suspend him," he told Bob McKenzie of TSN.com. "I'm not mad for myself, I'm mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it's OK, they won't be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt."

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Filed under: Boston • Canada • Hockey • Montreal • NHL • Sports
soundoff (544 Responses)
  1. Susan

    A game yes...does someone have to die in order for someone to finally do something about it.....could have it been
    prevented??? Yes!! BOYS figure it out!!

    March 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      Yeah, it could've been prevented by not leaving gaps in the barriers.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • marriedtohockey

      Learn the game Susan before you comment. This was an unfortunately timed hit, not a vicious attack. Your comment might apply to other hits in other games but not here and now. Sports are physical, hockey more than some. Hockey players are tough and not paid the millions other sports figures are. Every player I've ever met, and I have met several, were personable and unassuming off the ice.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaun

      Marriedtohockey- you are assuming that this is an unfortunately timed hit. How do you know for sure that it was not deliberately timed that way? Just because Chara is "not that type of player"? Boston was down 4-0, Chara was feeling lousy for being down, and he also had a vendetta with Pacioretty from a previous game in January. Look it up. Pacioretty scored the game winning goal, gave Chara a tap, and then Chara came after him but couldn't get a chance to stick it to him then. So he did it on Tuesday.

      Pacioretty, from his hospital bed, says he felt the hit was deliberate. Felt like his head was deliberately shoved into the stanchion. Since we can't know for sure what was going through Chara's head at that moment, wouldn't Pacioretty's perspective be the next best thing??

      March 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TakeALookAtThis

    There's bodychecks and then there's criminal intent, look at how Chara does a bodycheck and tell me this "man" is playing hockey... http://twitpic.com/47s8ub

    March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. William

    THE HIT WAS CLEAN. It's a joke that chara was ejected, let alone penalized. I never wish to see players get hurt but it's hockey. People pay for the intensity and violence. Chara has a sparkling record behind him and I'm amazed that this is an issue. The truth is, the refs probably only ejected chara in an attempt to keep the game somewhat under control.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gunker29

    Um, Max Pacioretty is an American. What Chara did was deliberate and is not hockey. Of course players are aware that there is hitting in hockey, but Pacioretty did not have the puck. The NHL has already lost Sidney Crosby arguably the best player in the world on 2 hits to his head when he didn't have the puck. Btw, there have already been 3 cases before the courts for actions taken during a hockey game. Just because they're on the ice doesn;t mean they are not responsible for their actions. If you hit someone with your car, it doesn;t matter if you intended to or not. Everyone is responsible. I personally expect more out of "professional" athletes that get paid millions.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      You kidding?! Half the checks in hockey are made on players who don't have the puck. You're talking about keeping your eye on a little black circle flying around the ice, when guys are looking for opportunities to knock your block off. Hockey is not a clean sport, unless the players are in junior high.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gunker29

      Nope. Not kidding. I've played hockey. Everyone knows you can't hit someone if they don;t have the puck. Its called the rules. The NHL is just really bad at calling late hits.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    If you watch the hit, you can't see any intent to hurt Pacioretty. Chara was just trying to check him into the boards and Pacioretty caromed and fell awkwardly. It wasn't like Kwame Brown's hit on Carlos Boozer in the Bulls/Bobcats game last night–totally flagrant.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. steeve-o

    Hockey is a dangerous sport. I've seen teeth knocked out, concussions, even arteries slit from skates or sticks (actually the fights are the least violent since the players can't get enough footing to land a meaningful punch)... Canadian police can't do a damn thing about it. Their best bet would be to ban this Bruin from Canadien home games. But all players assume the risks when they step onto that ice.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaun

      There also needs to be accountability for oneself when on the ice. Yes, I agree that players assume risks when getting on the ice. But don't you agree that there should be a line between risky and deadly?

      March 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kim r

    The people that are saying this the hit was disgusting clearly do not watch hockey and need to comment on something they know a little bit about. It was just horrible timing. Chara couldn't have done that if he tried. It's extremely unfortunate, but a complete accident.

    To the people that are complaining about how voilent hockey is DON'T WATCH IT IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT. Yet I'm sure you'll tune into the NFL where it is commonplace to see serious injuries (for the record I also enjoy football). Hockey is the best sport out there and if you can't understand it and are so appalled by the violence then do us real fans a favor and stop watching so we don't have to listen to you complain.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • marriedtohockey

      Exactly!

      March 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    That hit was no accident. Don't tell me Chara didn't know exactly where he was on the ice. Players go gunning after each other for a number of reasons. Chara needs a lot more serious and expensive penalty than he got.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Why is hockey news? Sport is worthless except to people in Canada and border states.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Hockey is a great sport. If you have nothing to contribute, don't comment.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wcb2009

    I watched this vid several times and It was NOT the check that did him in. It was the post on the box. He skated head first into the post. The other guy just nudged him a little bit.

    The check was totally ok and it was not boarding. Im not even sure why the ref called it.

    They need to make the box safer not prosecute. Geesh! I see these guys fight like criminals committing assault and battery on each other and the prosecutor wants to go after this? Crazy!

    March 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Uh, they called it because it was interference. Pacioretty had cleared the puck down the ice and you can't move laterally in front of a player/hit a player if he doesn't have the puck. It was absolutely a penalty. Learn about the sport before commenting.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jblack

      Your a complete idiot, that guy didn't have the puck!!!!!

      March 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • wcb2009

      I played hockey for 12 years on travel teams in upstate NY. I am not a ref and you may be right about interference. I will give you that, but the guy had his head down and skated head first into the box corner! I can hear my coach now... keep ypur head up!

      March 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Here's a link to a slow-motion replay of the hit – about 20 seconds in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I2pjf7Vp9Q&feature=player_embedded

      You can clearly see that:

      A) Pacioretty's head is up.

      B) He cleared the puck and thus wasn't expecting to get hit.

      C) He was guided along the boards by the biggest guy in NHL history.

      D) The biggest guy in NHL history, Chara, rides him along the boards and then shoves him just as they reach the turnbuckle. Tell me that isn't intentional.

      Then, check out the picture of the moment of impact: http://habsinsideout.com/files/hio/images/chara-hit.jpg

      March 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. paranevil

    I don't think the problem is with the hit at all, it's a very common play and was a clean hit. The problem is the placement of the stanchion (I always thought it was spelled stancheon, but meh) not the hit. Perhaps moving them in a bit, putting some padding on them or some sort of redesign would be better approached than trying to punish someone for a clean play along the boards. Don't get me wrong, I feel for the guy and hate seeing players get injured to such an extreme, but it wasn't the players fault, poor design is at fault here.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Geoff

    His neck was broken and he may never play the game again. Watch in slow motion and you can see that Chara pushes his head towards the turnbuckle. I don't care that Chara is 7" taller – that's no excuse, he knows where he is on the ice, he had a previous beef with Pacioretty and if the NHL isn't going to discipline him hopefully the law can.

    In Quebec there have been several cases in which players have been found guilty of assault for vicious plays in hockey, so there is precedent. Pacioretty could have been killed by this wreckless, unnecessary play. There were 15 seconds left in the period and he had cleared the puck.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    Do the Montreal fans call the police when one of the Canadiens causes an injury to visiting players??? Because if they don't then anyone getting mad about contact in a contact sport is acting a little hypocritical.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Actually, there's been precedent set in Quebec with cases like this before. A year or two ago a junior player hit another player on the ice with an elbow to the head which made the player who was hit start convulsing on the ice and he suffered brain trauma. The player who hit him was charged with assault and found guilty. It's not normal hits that draw this attention it's a hit that's careless, dangerous, and resulted in a severe, possibly career-ending injury.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I wasn't talking about Junior Hockey. Have any of the Canadiens ever been prosecuted for hits on other players in Montreal? Of course no one wants to see a player go down even for a little while. Was the penalty too light of course it was , does there need to be a suspension? Big YES. I doubt though that if the situation were reversed anyone from Montreal would have sought legal action against a Montreal player.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      I'm not talking about junior hockey, either. I'm saying that there's precedent that allows for charging players when a dangerous hit results in a severe injury. They will have to investigate whether there's evidence Chara meant to push Pacioretty into the turnbuckle, which it appears he did given the slow-motion replay and given the history between the two of them. Beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Canadiens player get charged with something similar if it happened in Montreal. The player I referred to in junior hockey was a rising Quebec star player and was still charged.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MIKE

    Canadians are baby's. Dave Schultz could whip the whole team. Take the referees out and let them play, too many rules already.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gunker29

      Max Pacioretty is American. I would think most Americans would be happy that Canadians are sticking up for the American guy who had his head rammed into a piece of glass at high speed.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Also, Mike, Pacioretty had 14 goals and 10 assists in 34 games this season. He's a rising American star – was on pace for a 30+ goal season at full length and could have been HUGE for the U.S. in the next winter Olympics. Now? He may never play again.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IBLeaf

    Let's face it. If Max Pacioretty was Sidney Crosby then Mr. Chara would have been kicked out of the league. Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy are both a joke and should be fired after this season.

    March 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      @IBLeaf – We wish. Crosby's been out for months with a sever concussion from an illegal hit and the culprit was never given anything.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
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