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. Paul

    There was clearly interference on the play, which was called. However, I have a hard time believing that Chara went out there and purposefully tried to injure another player. The league got this one right. Hopefully Pacioretty recovers soon, but there was no attempt to injure.

    It is interesting to note that Steckel didn't get suspended for giving Crosby a concussion. Also interesting to note is that when Brooks Orpik checked a Erik Cole and broke his neck he received a suspension. It would be nice to see the league develop some standard criteria to help determine whether or not suspensions will be applied and how long they will last. Currently it seems that the NHL does this arbitrarily.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • steelerguin

      Totally agree Paul. There seems to be no consistent policy regarding suspensions. Sometimes I think if Colin Campbell has indigestion that day they get a few games. If he's feeling chipper, no discipline.

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

    Those calling this a clean hit are plain wrong on fact. It was a late hit and penalized as such on the ice. That the league didnt add to the penalty only continues to add to their reputation as out of touch. The number of top skilled players losing large chunks of playing time or have careers ended speaks for itself.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steven324

    if Big George was still on the Canadiens bench the hit wouldn't have happened

    March 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SafetyDude

    The NHL did not. as yet, address how this will be prevented in the future. I suggest that they require breakaway stanchions just like they did with breakaway goal posts. Safety first.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jayman419

    The worst charge he should possibly face would be along the lines of criminal negligence. If Pacioretty was just walking down the street and he got board-checked then maybe it could be considered assault or something like that. But both men were participating in an event which is inherently risky. They both signed on and agreed to undertake a certain level of risk, and they receive compensation and medical care for the job they perform.

    The people who run the NHL know that their sport will never be number one. Most fans don't bother to watch because most people don't like seeing others get hurt. (I was surprised to hear there was no hockey a couple years ago...) So they have to choose between the fans who have made them all wealthy and the potential new fans who would actually watch a cleaner version of the sport.

    But blaming players who participate in the sport as the rules currently allow it is borderline criminal behavior itself.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jayman419

      ...most [sports] fans...

      I hope it's obvious I wasn't saying most hockey fans don't watch hockey.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hali

    This wasn't a clean hit to begin with – it was interference!!! He was called on that during the game. Rule 56.5 – And he shoved his head into the stanchion and then to somehow try and blame it on Pacioretty "jumping up" into it is ridiculous. He knew what he was doing – he's not as stupid as he looks.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brad

    It's simply not possible to come to a fair unbiased verdict on this issue. Colin Campbells son plays for the Bruins, Montreal fans will be outraged for someone on their team, and Boston fans will defend their player. This hit should be investigated by a neutral party, as it was clearly questionable otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion, and fans wouldn't be outraged as they have been. I am not a Bruins fan, nor a Montreal fan, and after watching the video in slow-mo, and listening to Max in his hospital bed with a broken neck describe how he felt Chara's hand guide him into the post, it is in my opinion that this was done with purposeful and malicious intent. Therefore, the police should be involved in this matter, and this should be thoroughly investigated, and if necessary charges laid.
    Don't get me wrong, I love a good hockey fight. or a good clean hit, but guiding someones face into a metal post and breaking their neck is quite another thing.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HOCKEYFAN

    @Matt, Obviously YOU dont watch hockey very closely...Chara was indeed suspended before..in 2005. It wasnt a big deal..but he was suspened. Also, the hit was NOT clean, it was interference which makes the hit illegal. Max did not have the puck therefore making the hit illegal. Now I dont believe for a minute that Chara intended to cause the damge he did, however his momentary braincramp caused a serious injury. The NHL failed here, all they had to do was give chara perhaps 2 games and all would have been fine but they didnt, which was another slap in the face to Max and to every other player in the league. You believe want you want to believe Matt, and stay classy with your name calling

    March 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason

    Why are there so many Canadiens asking for the law to step in? Yes, it w as a penalty but a blatant attmept to hurt? No way. I did not see you Canadiens asking for the law to step in when Todd Bertuzzi Assualted, yes, flat out assualted Steve Moore. Not only this, but the assault was totaly premediated. Took him tot he ground from behind, smashed his face into teh ice and was punching a man that was knocked out. You got Bertuzzi now suing Marc Crawford and the Canucks organization for being ordered to hurt Moore. That is a crime. Get real Canadiens, nothing is going to happen to Chara.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaun

      Why should Montreal Canadiens fans have gotten involved for the Bertuzzi incident? Why not Colorado fans, where he was playing? How is that related? And FYI, there was a civil suit filed against Bertuzzi in 2006, from the province of Ontario.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CanAm

    Zdeno Chara should be locked away for a very long time. He injured him on purpose. The hit was planned and the NHL should have thrown the book at him. Bettman is a coward.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Jones

      and youre clueless, even up here.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ELH

    While hockey is not primarily a body contact sport as is American football, hard hits have long been a part of the game. However, that being said, I wonder if the universal use of helmets, face masks, and vastly improved pads did not escalate the frequency and force of hard bodily contact episodes. The National Football League is struggling with the same sort of issue, players using their heads as a primary part of the tackling/blocking technique. I am convinced that if the head and facial protections were banned in hockey, the incidents of hard hits would be drastically reduced. I think also that the NFL should consider banning face masks. A rash of broken noses within the defensive secondary corp would likewise go far in eliminating the use of the head as a weapon.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      lol. You live in Canada Steve. You lose.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Steven: "you're".

      March 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • True North Fan

      Hi Steve,

      I am a big fan of all things Canadian, but I got to tell you, when I hear Non-Amercians from countries that don't even have a third of our population (America has over 300 miklion, you have 33M) balk at our infrastructure, I have to view them as the ones who are lacking in common sense. Exactly how do you expect a nation as large (population) as America, India, China, Brazil, Russia & Pakistan to run as efficiently as teeny tiny little country like yours. You are the one who needs to get educated my dear frosty friend.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Did this guy really call Canada a teeny tiny country?? Really?? I think you meant to say that the population in the US is much larger than Canada. Because Canada is the second largest land mass in the world. And since when does the population of a country effect how efficiently the government runs things? And glancing at the current political atmosphere in the US...it's nothing to brag about when the likes of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are considered serious presedential nominees. Just sayin'.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oggie

      That's just rediculous. I suppose next you'll want to ban the use of carbon-fibre in race cars and go back to leather helmets and no fire proof suits. Look forward, don't look back.......

      March 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • yo

      america sucks

      March 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • micmorri

      It's a sport, people get hurt, dont be such a pu$$y. With that being said, there should be some sort of rule about checking people into the benches. It has always been a place where the worst looking hits happen. Im not saying that Chara rubbing him out was acceptable, but bringing in the cops? Come on, we all know their main function is to observe and report. I think Canadiens fans just dont want to play against Chara anymore, and what better way to do so than to eliminate him from Canadien home games because he has a warrant out for his arrest. If you dont want this to happen, then change the rules. Otherwise, stop being such qweeb pu$$ies

      March 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I've seen the hit replayed in slow motion so many times it's uncountable.

      What I've seen is am interference penalty, which was called.

      The fact that the stadium is poorly designed (no padding on the metal stansion that CAUSED THE INJURY) seems to be missed by most everyone.

      March 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • TCM

      @ True North Fan

      Canada is part of North America, so calling Canadians "Non-Americans" is just plain stupid and ignorant. Check the map next time!

      March 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • mak

      Horrible display of sport. That was a nasty hit. I hope the offensive player is held accountable for the arm/elbow hit to the head. The kid had his head jerked in such an unnatural position. If the league will not disipline, I hope the civil court and family will find recourse.

      March 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Ok for all these fools who continue to say this was not deliberate...here's a history lesson between these 2 specific players.

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Me9YN9VnS0 – In this video you'll see Chara take offence to Pacioretty scoring the winning goal and Max gave him a little push in the back. Watch Chara flip his lid for something as small as this.

    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNr7kICmqJI – In this video from the following game, watch as Pacioretty gets involved in the scrum he is wearing #67...now watch who Chara goes after during the fight. He clearly goes after Pacioretty without any hesitation eventhough Pacioretty is on the ground in a scrum with someone else. The amount of cheap shots Chara takes here are undeniable.

    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF1Ang3DLEQ – And here is the hit itself from the 3rd game. Chara and The Bruins targeted both Pacioretty and PK Subban who just missed getting his head taken off at the very beginning of this game.

    It's clear Chara who is a proven veteran who has already been suspended for those who continue to deny that fact, knew exactly who was next to him during the play. The puck at the point of contact is already about 10 feet away from the player. The Refs saw it exactly for what it was...too bad the NHL refuses to police the league. As much as I don't want to see the police get involved, I for one am sick and tired of watching guys like Crosby, Hall etc get taken out with no one being held accountable.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      This is a standard hockey play. It wouldn't surprise me to see Marc Staal hit Eric Stall in this same way. It was just a good hit in an unfortunate place in the rink. You have to have Habby blinders on to think this was done on purpose.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • G

      I completely agree. Bad apples ruin an otherwise great game. There are rules for a reason. Even real warfare has rules, albeit often not followed. In my opinion this was intentional.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      @Rick – here's a closeup shot of the hit. Look at where Chara is pushing Pacioretty. You don't need habs blinders to see what is happening in this image:

      http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/NHL-No-suspension-no-fine-for-Zdeno-Chara-on-P?urn=nhl-331961

      March 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe800

      Please, man up or go home....not in a thousand years could Chara have planned to hit Pacioretty, EXACTLYwhen he was in play EXACTLY when he was at the stanchion AND if he had wanted to hurt him would have blasted him a lot harder than that little check ... boo hoo

      March 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan J

      Chara's never been suspended. Ever. For anything.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      @Joe – Here's the thing, no one is saying he planned the hit exactly like that. Chara saw an opportunity to send a message to a player he has a history with and he took that liberty. The result and intention is only a part of the whole story.

      @ Dan J – Chara was suspended for 1 game for a late-game instigator and fight in 2005 while with Ottawa.

      You see you can call me names or tell to man up all you want, I'm just presenting facts. My concern is with the player who's injured and I hope that the NHL will do what it should do to prevent this nonsense from happening again. It's only a matter of time before a player never gets up and then what happens. Will you accuse me of whining and not being a man then also? Max Pacioretty is 22 years old and his career is in jeopardy.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frenchy

      Mike, you sound like a whiney Pittsburg fan. Grow a pair.

      March 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • norm

      Charas hit on pacioretti was payback for a push after a goal in Boston.

      Montreal police force is investigating and Charas should be held accountable as an assault which
      could have resulted in fatality. Pacioretti is probably sidelined until further notice if not forever
      with concussion and fracture of the neck. Chara knew what he was doing and knew the stanchion
      was there...when he pushed pacioretti on it.. He will be BROUGHT TO COURT. IF NOT
      THE NHL HAS NO INTEGRITY. PERIOD

      March 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Rick, how is play punished with 2 penalties and an ejection "a standard hockey play?"

      March 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      All I can advise Chara is, "Tell it to the judge."

      March 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB1213

      Norm take a chill pill,... its hockey , you expect punches, pushes, and people getting hit. weather the hit was intentional or not , you don't sit on the committee head so they don't care what you think and I gaurntee this won't go any further , but for the player that got hit I wish him the best an a speedy recovery !!

      March 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard Gilbert

      Thank you Mike. Let's just hope the justice do factor in the events leading to the near fatal hit to establish the intent behind the delevery. I see no escape for Chara. Justice will prevail and so will common sense. It's a criminal affair and depending on Pax recovery there might be room for a civil court. There's one thing I would like to point out: if you look at the replay. Chara's hand accelerates with respect to his own body's speed, clearly indicating he has been drueling for this for over a month.

      Again, this cannot be denied in front of a judge just by saying I did'nt mean to hurt him sir? dahh!

      March 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      Chara has never been suspended. Period. Your "facts" are objectively wrong.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    I've played "relatively" high level hockey. The play was an interference call and that’s fine. It got called by the ref.

    Based on what I’ve seen, the history between these two players and from what I know of Chara, I think it was a deliberate attempt to injure Pacioretti. That being said, there is unfortunately no way to prove it therefore the league was correct in not suspending Chara because there is no provable offense to justify a suspension. The same thing will happen with this police investigation. They can’t prove that this was intentional so what crime can they charge Chara with? It’s ridiculous. But, I and many NHL players, coaches, owners, refs, etc… do believe it was deliberate so while he shouldn’t be suspended, it would be nice if he would be a man and fess up to it. Anyone who has played the game, including Pacioretti, has gotten hot under the collar and tried to hurt someone who peed us off during a game at least once. Just saying to Pacioretti that he made a mistake and was sorry about it would go a long way.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      "Based on what you know about Chara"? If you really knew anything about Chara, you would never come to the conclusion that it was intentional. Had that same play occured in any other part of the ice (without the stanchion), Pacioretti wouldn't have been hurt and it would have been what it really was.....a simple interference penalty, calling for 2 minutes penalty time.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ST

      I can't believe there is this much discussion about a flow of play hit. If there are any hits that should have criminal charges take a look at Colton Gilles hits that got him suspended. And it's not like Chara pulled a Bertuzzi

      March 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really?

    The criminal investigation should be against the Canadiens for not providing better protection/padding on the stanchions! It happened at their home ice. Hope Pacioretty makes a full recovery and gets over his anger with the league.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • j

      That's the only crime committed IMO

      March 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JR

    @ CB I hate to break this to you but you're glory days are over. If you league dosn't start with an N nobody give a crap but you.

    March 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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