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Should Chara Face Criminal Prosecution?

via the CP at The Hockey News,

Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has requested a police investigation into Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara over the hit that hospitalized Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.

The agency has forwarded its recommendation to the provincial government’s Public Security department.

This does not mean there will be an investigation—much less an attempt to prosecute—but simply signals the first step in any such procedure.

The move comes after the National Hockey League declined to suspend Chara.

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

Comments

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Should Chara Face Criminal Prosecution?

Short answer, no.

I can already see Bettman gearing up his threatening letters machine to warn Quebec that the NHL might pull their franchise if the province is going to cross that line.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/10/11 at 11:40 AM ET

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

Where were all these concerned French people when Savard was cranked? Or Bergeron? The fans in Montreal are making this into a spectacle.

Does the NHL need to implement better, more clear rules to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future? In my opinion, absolutely.

Should the NHL look into the foam used on those poles or the necessity of the poles in the first place? Of course!

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 03/10/11 at 11:45 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I think the NHL or the Bruins should sit Chara, but he should not be prosecuted.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/10/11 at 11:46 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Oh brother. Then they should investigate every instance of violence on the ice then.
How about when Cammeleri slashed Nino Neitereitter during preseason? Wouldn’t you consider that assault with a weapon?

Take it easy Quebec. You forget that you once had Dale Hunter on your Nordiques squad.

Posted by Hank1974 on 03/10/11 at 11:46 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Fantastic piece from the guys over at Offsides: A Sports Law Blog about this issue from last June:

Give it a read here.

The Cliff’s Notes version:

In order to establish the crime of assault, you need to show 2 things: (1) an intention to harm, and (2) the victim didn’t consent to that harm.

In hockey, when you step on the ice, you consent to some form of bodily contact and harm, and the risk of injury that flows from that. This is because hockey is understood to be a violent game. Players consent to harm that is incidental to the game but not to acts that are so clearly outside the scope of what is acceptable in the game.

I maintain the result of the play was horrid, but does not constitute something so far outside the scope of the game.  It’s not Bertuzzi/Moore or McSorley/Brashear.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/10/11 at 11:54 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I maintain the result of the play was horrid, but does not constitute something so far outside the scope of the game.  It’s not Bertuzzi/Moore or McSorley/Brashear.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/10/11 at 09:54 AM ET

Exactly, not even close to those things.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/10/11 at 11:59 AM ET

Avatar

As much as a think the Chara hit was guttless ... I think involving the police is way too far.  There most definitely needs to be a new way of determining punishment in the league… It should involve two seperate groups from each conference, where the average punishment is the one dealt.  This would help take the pressure off of one guy (Cambell) and help make the punishment more fair.

In regards to Chara, he is a coward.  He throws elbows all game long.  The guy hits people like this all the time when they are unable to protect themsevles.  If you ever watch him go back for a puck in his own zone, if there is any pressure at all he will allow the other guy to get the puck in order to hit him.  He will never get the puck first and absorb the hit.  I can understand Montreal’s hatred of the guy.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/10/11 at 12:10 PM ET

hiero4life's avatar

Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has requested some attention.

Posted by hiero4life from anywhere i am on 03/10/11 at 12:22 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

This is ridiculous, as are all the calls for a suspension. It was a regular late hit that interference was called for. Unfortunately that hit happened near the stanchion, which caused all the damage. Chara meant to lay a clean hut, albeit it a late one, but he clearly didn’t do that near the stanchion on purpose.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Chicago, IL on 03/10/11 at 12:32 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

This is getting really kooky.

A special thank you goes out to the NHL brass for letting this thing spiral out of control as a result of their pathetically inconsistent disciplinary policy over the past five years.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 03/10/11 at 12:51 PM ET

sisu's avatar

J.J.: Pull the franchise???  We’re not talking about a Taco Bell, here.  If Bettman even mentioned that it would be PR suicide.  Not to mention the legal curb-stomping they would get from Molson.

There is a reason you rarely see players driven into open bench gates or into the crossbar of the net - players have it driven into their heads from peewee on that those are unsafe places to finish a check.  The Assumed Risk point is valid for legal acts on the ice - taking a shot, checking, etc.  It is not a valid excuse for an illegal late, high hit in a dangerous place in the rink.  Running a player into the glass is incidental to the game.  Running a player’s head into the stanchion is not.

The NHL had ample opportunity to police itself and act to prevent further broken necks.  It refused.  If it takes legal action to force the NHL to use a little common sense, so be it.

Posted by sisu on 03/10/11 at 01:13 PM ET

Primis's avatar

J.J.: Pull the franchise???  We’re not talking about a Taco Bell, here.  If Bettman even mentioned that it would be PR suicide.  Not to mention the legal curb-stomping they would get from Molson.

I might be wrong, but I think JJ meant more about the hopes of Quebec City ever getting a team back to replace the Nords.

He has a valid point.  If they ever want a team back, this can’t happen or the league will make note of it and then make sure the city is never considered for relocation or expansion again.

Posted by Primis on 03/10/11 at 01:27 PM ET

Primis's avatar

There is a reason you rarely see players driven into open bench gates or into the crossbar of the net

What hockey are you watching?  Certainly not NHL, as this play happens at least once every single game.

The NHL had ample opportunity to police itself and act to prevent further broken necks.  It refused.

The arena had ample opportunity to have that partition removed as well.  Why do they get off scot-free?

Posted by Primis on 03/10/11 at 01:31 PM ET

awould's avatar

This is ridiculous. He wasn’t suspended and it seems most hockey pundits agree he shouldn’t have been, along with a lot of folks on this website. Making this into a police matter sets a bad precedent for the future. It will make it ok for parents of pee-wee players to sue other parents or coaches if their kid gets checked “too hard”. It could legitimize a lot of BS legal claims in sports at all levels. Also, it solidifies Montreal as the city with the whiniest fans. It was a really terrible injury caused mostly by a minor penalty and bad timing/location. Get over it.

Posted by awould on 03/10/11 at 01:43 PM ET

lordhogie's avatar

It was a really terrible injury caused mostly by a minor penalty and bad timing/location. Get over it.

Posted by awould on 03/10/11 at 11:43 AM ET

Hear! Hear!

Posted by lordhogie from Calgary on 03/10/11 at 01:56 PM ET

Avatar

Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has requested some attention.
Posted by hiero4life on 03/10/11 at 10:22 AM ET

Case closed.

Posted by NathanBC on 03/10/11 at 02:41 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

I smell a waiver for the players to sign:

I_____ do consent that I may get whacked by a stick or an elbow or God forbid be exposed to Chris Pronger’s genitalia through the course of this season.  I hereby waive responsibility of the NHL to blah blah blah…

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 03/10/11 at 04:25 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

More proof people in Quebec take hockey too seriously.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 03/10/11 at 07:26 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I maintain the result of the play was horrid, but does not constitute something so far outside the scope of the game.  It’s not Bertuzzi/Moore or McSorley/Brashear.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/10/11 at 09:54 AM ET

Perfect, JJ.  It’s getting ridiculous now.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/10/11 at 09:13 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Aww for faux’s sake.  Let’s keep hockey matters on the ice and legal matters in the courtroom.  Rediculous.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 03/11/11 at 03:07 AM 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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