Bruins D Zdeno Chara left Montreal’s Max Pacioretty — with whom he’s tangled in the past — with a concussion and broken vertebrae Tuesday night, and the resulting game misconduct penalty (and further inaction by the NHL) left many observers unsatisfied. Amongst them, Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne, who’s instructed the Montreal police to open an investigation. The league’s decision not to impose a suspension against Chara was rationalized because Chara had not previously faced “supplemental discipline” in his 13 year career. causing the Toronto Sun’s Randy Sportak to ask, “because Chara hasn’t been suspended before, didn’t jump or hit the player in the back and didn’t actually make contact with Pacioretty’s head, it’s an OK play?”
Instead of just holding Pacioretty, which Chara did, the Bruins captain took it a degree further with a hard shove into boards — a decision made worse because there is no glass where he starts the contact, sending Pacioretty head-first into the turnbuckle.
We’ll give Chara the benefit of the doubt and say he didn’t intend for Pacioretty’s head to make the first contact with the stanchion, but that was the end result nonetheless.
When the league rightfully suspended Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for his dangerous shove on Brian Campbell, Colin Campbell told the Washington Post: “If you cause a player to be injured, then you have to be responsible for the play that you’re involved in, if there’s any carelessness or recklessness in it.”
To say Chara didn’t know who was in his sights Tuesday night would be naive.