Justice for Patches

The NHL had yet another chance to show they are serious about their new stand on head shots and once again they completely flushed it down the toilet.

On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins were in Montreal visiting the Canadiens. Near the end of the second period 22-year-old Max Pacioretty was breaking out of the Habs’ zone when he was hit by the B’s captain Zdeno Chara.

The hit took place between the Home and Visiting benches where the stanchion is located. Pacioretty’s face went into the metal pole and he crumpled to the ice, unconscious. He was taken away from the game on a stretcher where he remains in hospital with a severe concussion and a broken neck (fractured, non displacement of the fourth vertebrae).

While Patches lies in a hospital bed with his neck in a brace, Chara is en route to the rink to take on the visiting Buffalo Sabres this evening.

Senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy decided not to suspend Chara for the hit that will likely leave Pacioretty sidelined for the rest of the season, if not the rest of his career:

“I conducted a hearing with Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara with respect to the major penalty for interference and game misconduct that he was assessed at 19:44 of the second period for a hit on Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.

“After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline. This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous.

“This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface. In reviewing this play, I also took into consideration that Chara has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career.”

Could not find evidence to suggest that Chara targeted Pacioretty’s head…

Is that not Chara’s hand shoving Patches’ face into the stanchion? The proof is in the pudding:

I’ve done my ranting and screaming. I’ve unfollowed the NHL on Twitter and unliked them on Facebook. That’s about all I can do as a fan.

  1. It annoys me so much that the NHL gets to decide what Chara’s intent was. That should not even be a basis for a punishment. No one but the perpetrator himself would know what his intent was the moment he lined Pacioretty up for the hit.
  2. The hit itself was illegal, as was deemed by the referee when a five minute major was called on the play. Because the crime resulted in a severe injury there should have been a bigger consequence. For example: if you were to get into a fight with someone in a bar and punch them in the face and accidently cause them a broken neck or death there would be more severe charges against you. Your “intent” was not to break the person’s neck, but it happened and you are held criminally responsible for your actions. It is called accountability.
  3. Last season when Ovechkin was suspended for two games Colin Campbell told him “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.”
  4. The NHL said they were going to get serious about head shots yet they are continuously ignoring them. It seems like once a week someone is being carted off the ice after a huge hit. Some commentators have said it’s going to take a death on the ice before the NHL smartens up. Well someone HAS died. Remember Don Sanderson? The 21-year-old rookie defenceman with the Senior AAA Whitby Dunlops of the Ontario Hockey Association died three weeks after hitting his unprotected head on the ice during a fight. Thankfully, Air Canada has stepped up and sent the league a message saying if they don’t do something about head shots soon they will withdraw their sponsorship. Well apparently money does talk because Kubina was suspended for three games by the league today for a hit to the head.
  5. In the NFL when a player gets a four or five game suspension they are losing a third of their season. It really makes them think twice before re offending. In the NHL a four or five game suspension is only 1/16 of a players’ season. Do you really think they care? NO.
  6. Sean Avery received a six game suspension for trash talking Dion Phaneuf’s girlfriend and James Wisniewski was handed a two game suspension after making inappropriate hand gestures at Sean Avery but Chara broke Pacioretty’s neck and walked away Scott free. What message is the NHL trying to send here?
  7. Campbell should not be allowed to hand any decisions down while his son is an active player in the NHL. Sure, he excuses himself from all Boston related matters (which is why Mike Murphy dealt with this case) but either way it is an absolute conflict of interest. Of course the other league VP is not going to want to piss off Campbell.

This topic has led to some very heated conversations with my fellow companions. It has brought NHL fans together, no matter what team they cheer for. Meanwhile I’ve also received comments that Montreal fans are only outraged because “they’re French and that is what they do.” All I have to say is grow up. True hockey fans that have respect for the game and the players in it rise to the surface in times like these. The meatheads who think they know everything also come out and it is when I realize who I should and shouldn’t associate myself with. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you think the decision on Chara was legit and you have accurate arguments to back you up, I’d love to hear it but don’t start chirping about a persons’ nationality as your argument for why there should have been no suspension.

I wish Max Pacioretty good health and hope that one day he can return to the game he loves so much.

Habs fans mark your calendars. March 24 will be a night of retribution for Patches when the bleu-blanc-rouge head down to Boston. The Canadiens will beat them where it counts…on the scoreboard and in the standings.

Get well soon Patches, xox

Go Habs Go


8 thoughts on “Justice for Patches

  1. So much for retribution on 3/24.

    Where were all the Habs fans when “Patches” hit Eaton from behind? Plays like that are perfectly acceptable when no Habs are hurt, huh?

    I am a Bruins fan, so I’m biased in that direction. What irks me about the whole thing is the not the whining on the part of Habs fans or the calling of 911– any city that burns police cars because of a hockey game obviously has fans that will call the authorities in this situation — it’s the use of the slow motion film of the hit and of the still photo of it. That gives people the impression that Chara thought about it for an hour before hitting Pacioretty when it’s clear to anyone with more than a dozen functioning brain cells that that’s NOT what happened. It was an unfortunate accident, and yes it was a late hit, but I don’t think it was more than that. He got the major and got tossed from the game. It’s not like Chara wasn’t penalized at all.

    Also, it wasn’t a “head shot” in the classic sense. Chara checked Pacioretty, and had it been in any other spot on the ice, we wouldn’t be having this discussion; it would’ve been less controversial than Pacioretty classlessly cross-checking Chara after his OT goal.

    Anyway, good luck, I’m looking forward to a great series!

  2. I hate that it took me this long to finally read your post, Melissa, because you’re 100% right on everything. That’s all there is to say, really.

  3. You couldn’t have said it any better … It blows my mind that Wisniewski got games for a gesture, but Chara slams a head into a stanchion and gets NADA?
    There is something far wrong with the governing board for the NHL when the man that heads it up has a family member playing in the league. If this was government in any other place (federal, provincial, private etc), this would be a serious conflict of interest.
    Words are beyond me right now. All I can say is this ..
    You hit the nail on the head – Great article! Thanks Mel!

  4. Let me preface this comment by saying that I am not a Habs or Bruins fan and feel no sense of ‘team loyalty’ in reaction to the above incident; I’m just a hockey fan that heard about and has since seen the ‘questionable’ hit. I have to agree with the author of the blog that there was a dirty hit carried out. Maybe there was no ‘intent to injury’ to the degree that resulted but the very first time I saw the replay the thing that stood out most was Chara’s arm coming up and shoving Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion. Maybe he was trying to shove him into the glass that seperates the benches or go for a “dramatic” check into the benches but he did, in fact, raise his arm and run the Habs player into the divider. If this was such a horrible accident, you would think Chara would have a tad more empathy for Pacioretty’s predicament instead of looking disinterested and towing the company line that he’s not a dirty player and it’s not his style of play. Hmmm, these two have a history of bad blood from a previous game (which was Pacioretty’s fault) so it’s hard to believe the thought of retribution wasn’t lingering somewhere in the back of Chara’s mind. But what’s done is done and the league, in all it’s shameful glory, has made it’s decision. There’s always room for some lively physical play but gambling with a person’s health and career needs to stop now! Hopefully player’s will learn to repect each other or get the hell out of the game.

    • Thank you for the feed back, much appreciated. Always good to have an opinion from an unbiased source. As much as I’d love to say I’m not bias, I am indeed a Habs fan. Although if I saw this happen to any player in the league I’d still be upset about it.

  5. Well, I am a Habs fan and yes I am bad/sad on what happened to Max Pac, but it was a CLEAN HIT!!!

    Sorry to burst your bubble…..but its the truth!!!

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