First off, we're hoping Max Pacioretty is fine. We love hard hits and people getting smushed in the glass, but we prefer Boston opponents to leave the game with bumps and bruises and not on a stretcher.
As for the hit itself -- and we're trying to put out Boston bias aside -- we think the hit was clean but quite unfortunate. Chara finishes his check like any player would do; it just so happens that that the check started and ended, alas, at the part of the bench right by the Habs runway and that awkward pane of glass. How many times do we see a hit like that happen by the bench and the guy gets dumped into the bench and everyone goes nuts and cheers? It's bad luck that he went into the turnbuckle instead. That hit happens anywhere else in the arena and it's a plain ol' glass smush. Sadly, it was more like a guillotine.
And people who think Chara dilberately did that hit with intent to injure have no idea the type of player Chara is or the culture in the Bruins locker room. No one in the league is more sensitive to concussions than Boston (we defy you to find another team); to think the Bruins captain would try to decapitate a guy's head on the glass is retarded.
With all that said the interference call was solid by the refs. Ejecting Chara may have been for his own safety. No way Habs fans let him leave without lighting him on fire.
After the jump... what others are saying around the league and Internet...
Chara on the hit:
We were going for the puck, battling for position. I was riding him out. It’s very unfortunate. Obviously, it’s not my intention to push him into the post. And it’s not my style to hurt anybody. I play hard. It’s very unfortunate, but it does happen in the game.
From PuckDaddy who stayed neutral in their post:
Scary, scary scene ... but was it intentional? Clearly, Pacioretty had nudged the puck ahead and Chara finished a check to take him out of the play. The interference call was correct; the major was based on the injury. Was it a case of reckless play by Chara or simply unfortunate geography for the hit on Pacioretty?
Retired NHLer and d-man Aaron Ward via Twitter:
Years irrelevant! No GPS out there.Game too fast “@habsinsideout1: You don't play as long as Chara has and not know where you are on a rink
David Stubbs from Montreal Gazette:
And you'd not have been alone had you wondered whether Chara's dangerous neutral-zone hit wasn't a bit of a receipt for the tap in the back he took from Pacioretty here on Jan. 8 after the latter's winning goal in overtime.
Hockey is a fast, high-impact game. Decisions are made, accidents happen, checks are made. Injuries result.
The NHL will and must review the play, and Chara must be suspended. The Bruins veteran called the incident "unfortunate" and said the predictable things: there was no intent to injure, he's not a dirty player, he hopes Pacioretty recovers quickly, etc.
Bob McKenzie from TSN:
And on this one, I would suggest Murphy requires the wisdom of Solomon to make his ruling... 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.
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.
Them's the breaks, so to speak.GM Gauthier:
Absolutely no comment.
1/8/11 Jack Edwards: Max Pacioretty is a cocky little punk and one of these days he's going to get his head taken off #carefuljack #prophecy
The rest of Twitter is an absolute mine field of views. We're not even going to poll the Republic of Twitter this time.
Chara's to have a disciplinary hearing at noon today, per TSN. We're not sure if the hit really deserves a suspension, but McKenzie makes a good point in his column. Hits like that sometimes lead to suspensions, regardless of intent.
Boston's running low on defensemen now. That Hnidy signing is looking better by the day.
Hoping we all see Pacioretti on the ice again.