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Following Up on the Chara Hit

From Bob McKenzie at TSN:

To me, it looked as though Chara was compensating for potentially being beaten to the outside by Pacioretty and after the puck had been advanced up the ice, the big defenceman attempted to rub the Canadien winger into the boards.

But here’s the bottom line for me. Chara was rightfully assessed an interference penalty on the play. Because of the obvious injury, it was a five-minute major.

Certainly, if the partition weren’t there, it would have been no more than a two-minute minor for interference and there almost assuredly would have been no injury on the play. But the partition was there and, ultimately, Chara is responsible for the outcome. He made an illegal play that caused injury and even if there was an absence of malice, Chara is still responsible.

More here, with McKenzie’s prediction about suspension.  (Video available on this earlier post, for anyone who missed it.)

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty, zdeno+chara

Comments

Chris in A^2's avatar

I disagree with McKenzie.  Interference isn’t a safety related rule, at least in the common infraction where a player tries to impede another’s progress. It’s a penalty designed to create more offense, like hooking and holding.  If Pacioretty’s injury was the result of a play that is dangerous in itself, like a hit from behind or a hit to the head, then I’d agree with suplimental discipline.  In this case it wasn’t, the danger in this play came from where the hit occurred on the ice, the design of the rink and how he went into the boards; these factors are entirely independent of Pacioretty’s possession of the puck.  Yes, technically it was an illegal play that resulted in injury, but the legality of the play didn’t factor into the danger or injury. There shouldn’t be a suspension.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 03/09/11 at 07:06 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

It looked like chara did it on purpose to me. He coulda killed the guy doing that, and could have let up easily.  Thank god that he still has feelings in his arms and legs, the guy could have easily broke his neck.  Those kind of dangerous plays have no place in hockey.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 03/09/11 at 07:53 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

If my memory proves correct, isn’t there a bit of animosity between the two of them since Pacioretty shoved chara after scoring a winning goal?  Its hard to say that revenge had nothing to do with it when chara shoved his head into the wall there.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 03/09/11 at 07:56 AM ET

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First I’m a big Habs’ fan.  But, Chara is not a dirty player. He’s just bigger and stronger than most.  I don’t think he did that on purpose.  However, I do despise the Bruins for their selective memory.  Bergeron and Savard have both been seriously injured by bad head shots.  And there was Bergeron defending Chara.  Either way, Chara has to have knowledge of where he is on the ice.  He deserves to be suspended. Not because he’s a dirty player, he’s not, but because he made a bone-headed decision.  And Bergeron needs to look in the mirror and give some serious thought to his hypocrisy.

Posted by Harald The Red on 03/09/11 at 10:40 AM ET

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It looked like chara did it on purpose to me.

What does that even mean?  Of course, he didn’t hit the guy by accident, he was trying to move him out of the way, but there’s nothing in that hit that suggests he knew the glass was there and that he decided “I’m going to put his face in the glass” at all.

Posted by Garth on 03/09/11 at 11:13 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You know what?  If we’re all going to sit here and say that Chara has to know where he is on the ice and that he should be punished based on a very special circumstance with the way Montreal’s glass is designed, then I suggest fining the Montreal organization for putting what amounts to a needless safety hazard between the benches.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/09/11 at 11:14 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Dreger says Chara has a phone interview with the NHL at noon today.  Phone usually means anywhere from 0-4 games.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/09/11 at 11:29 AM ET

Primis's avatar

God… this really is going to be a no-checking league by the time all the whiners are done.

If Chara needed to know where he was and that there was a partition there, then so did Pac.  It’s amazing how someone can say something like that about the one player, and then ignore it as also needing to apply the other.

Posted by Primis on 03/09/11 at 11:37 AM ET

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Of course Pacioretty knew where he was Primis, that’s basic, but he also jumped to get around Chara and Chara drove him into the partition.  As for JJ from Kansas, clearly you’ve never seen an NHL rink have you? All rinks have stancheons like that with padding on them.  Maybe you should get out of Kansas more, eh, bub?

Posted by Harald The Red on 03/09/11 at 11:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Maybe you should get out of Kansas more, eh, bub?

I see plenty of rinks with glass between the benches, but I also see plenty of those where the glass is recessed so it doesn’t stick out so far, protecting players from those kinds of hits.

Montreal’s glass is recklessly designed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/09/11 at 11:44 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Phone usually means anywhere from 0-4 games.

Maybe he’ll use the Pronger Lawz of Fizzix excuse.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 03/09/11 at 12:12 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

I like McKenzie’s take on this. Personally I don’t believe it was malicious, but I can understand the need to encourage players be more aware and careful in general. 2 games is probably both as fair and diplomatic as you’re gonna get on this play. Definitely one of the tougher incidents to adjudicate.

I’m curious for those of you who think Chara lined him up. If Chara places a personal call to Pacioretty or clearly shows some remorse in a public apology, does it change your view at all? If yes, does it still call for a 10 game suspension or whatever you’re in support of. I’m curious, because some have drawn poor comparisons with the Lemieux/Draper incident, and an apology or any sign of repentance is something Draper never got from Lemieux.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 03/09/11 at 01:27 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

I’m curious, because some have drawn poor comparisons with the Lemieux/Draper incident, and an apology or any sign of repentance is something Draper never got from Lemieux.
Posted by Nate A

This just shows how much they don’t know about hockey.  Draper was coasting to the bench for a player change,

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 03/09/11 at 01:45 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If Chara places a personal call to Pacioretty or clearly shows some remorse in a public apology, does it change your view at all?

Hell, I still don’t think there was malicious intent and my view would change for the better if Chara had done either of those things.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/09/11 at 01:47 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I do think Chara had every intent to ram him into the sanction. But 99 times out of 100 the player is winded after, gets up, skates to the bench, and is back out there. For whatever reason, Pacioretty’s head and neck end up nailing the sanction, and…what’s happened has happened. It’s not malicious, but to say he didn’t see the sanction and wasn’t trying to shove Pacioretty into it is sort of…well…I can’t see how people think he wasn’t aiming for it.

But maybe I’m just stupid.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/09/11 at 01:48 PM ET

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Just looks like a freak accident to me. A 6’9 guy moving at high speeds setting a routine pick on a smaller guy moving at high speeds where everything went wrong. The notion that Chara put his head into the turnbuckle isn’t supported by the fact that contact was light and Chara was watching the puck go down the ice most of the time. Strangely, if Chara had really drilled Pacioretty on this hit, instead of just getting in his way, the latter would probably have gone all the way into the bench and not missed a shift.

By the letter, it’s interference, but that’s not an aggressive penalty by itself. Interference is a penalty because of its potential to make the game boring, not hurt the guy.

This kind of reminds me of the Hossa/Berard thing, where Hossa was just trying to make a routine shot on net and Berard’s face happened to be in the one cubic centimeter of space where he could be terrible hurt.

I’d give him nothing additional for this, but Campbell suspends to the injury, so who knows.

Posted by steviesteve on 03/09/11 at 03:09 PM ET

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but he also jumped to get around Chara and Chara drove him into the partition.

Fine, then Pacioretty went the wrong way (inside rather than outside) and therefore had a better view of the partition than Chara (who was looking away from the boards, if you’ll notice), so he’s MORE to blame than Chara ever could be.

Posted by Garth on 03/09/11 at 03:36 PM ET

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I do think Chara had every intent to ram him into the sanction.

Problem with that logic is that Pacioretty comes from behind and inside, so there’s no way that Chara could plan to do that.

This isn’t a case like what Gillies did (or Clutterbuck’s hit that Gillies was reacting to) where he went in, looking at Pacioretty and planning on smearing Pacioretty into the boards, it was simply Pacioretty trying to get by and Chara trying to get him out of the way.

I can’t see how people think he wasn’t aiming for it.

I honestly can’t fathom how someone can possibly think he Chara was thinking that far ahead to try an aim for it.

It is simply baffling to me.  That was a split second thing.  Simply put, if Chara doesn’t do something Pacioretty is past him.  It’s a standard defensive reaction and it’s interference.  Trying to assign intent to that is ridiculous.

Posted by Garth on 03/09/11 at 03:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I honestly can’t fathom how someone can possibly think he Chara was thinking that far ahead to try an aim for it.

Especially considering anybody who has watched Chara play for any extended period of time knows that he’s often caught reacting to plays instead of forcing them to come to him.

Not that Chara isn’t smart or anything, but I think people are giving him waaaay to much credit in terms of how quickly he processes the game, and that’s not really borne out in any scouting report on the big guy.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/09/11 at 03:57 PM ET

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I think people are giving him waaaay to much credit in terms of how quickly he processes the game,

You’re absolutely right.  I think it’s a case, as often it is, that we can look at the hit from a dozen different angles in super slow motion and forget that in real time it was a split-second act and a desperate act of someone who was about to get beaten by an opponent.

He’s looking towards the boards, has no idea where his defense partner is and he sees Pacioretty potentially getting the loose puck on a semi-breakaway, so he does what any desperate player would do, he tries to stop Pacioretty.

Classic, textbook interference.

I’m sure the injury will ensure some sort of suspension, but I can’t imagine it would be lengthy.

Posted by Garth on 03/09/11 at 04:21 PM ET

Alzy's avatar

Well since you guys want to know why I compared it to Lemieux/Draper, it’s because they’re similar hits. LePuke cross-checked Draper from behind and sent him head-first into the stanchion. And in my view last night, Chara rammed Pacioretty head-first into it. It’s clear as day. Chara shoves him up, points his head forward, and doesn’t let go until Pacioretty is twisting violently around the stanchion. If he really was just trying to rub out Pacioretty, he would’ve let go once Pacioretty got up on the bench.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 03/09/11 at 04:35 PM ET

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Lemieux stared at the back of an uninvolved players’ face and pushed him into an open door when he was going for a line change. Chara set a routine pick on a guy who was headed past him for a 2 on 1. This is not at all the same thing. Watch Chara’s eyes: he’s completely unaware of Pacioretty’s predicament.

Posted by steviesteve on 03/09/11 at 05:19 PM ET

Alzy's avatar

I would ask you to do the same thing. He only starts to look ahead when Pacioretty’s face is maybe 1/16th of an inch from the stanchion. His arms are up, parallel with the ice through impact. Chara knows exactly what he’s doing, his body language says it all.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 03/09/11 at 05:30 PM ET

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Sorry, he’s looking elsewhere a split second after the point of contact. Maybe even at the point of contact. This play happens 20 times per game. If Pacioretty is 2 feet in any direction at the point of contact, or if Chara clobbers him into the bench instead of grazing him, nobody ever hears about this play because nobody gets hurt.

Posted by steviesteve on 03/09/11 at 05:47 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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