Following a phone hearing today, the NHL decided there will be no fine and no suspension for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, with regard to his hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Paccioretty during last night’s game.
The final decision was made by the NHL’s vice president of operations, Mike Murphy.
“This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface,” stated Murphy following the hearing. “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.”
After further speculation it is clear that the timing and location of the play is what caused the severity of the hit. The puck had already passed when the late hit sent Pacioretty into the stanchion between the benches.
Pacioretty, 22, was left out cold on the ice toward the end of the second period. He’s been diagnosed with a severe concussion as well as a vertebral fracture.
Chara was issued a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct. And although the hit has been deemed controversial, undoubtedly has the support of many fans, fellow Bruins teammates and head coach Claude Julien.
“Knowing him as I know him, there was no intent to injure the player on that play,” stated Julien.
Although Canadien fans as well as the team themselves may not be happy with the NHL’s decision, most do feel that management made the correct one on not overreacting in this specific case. The fierce rivalry between Boston and Montreal is long-standing, and this incident has only fueled the fire. Their next scheduled match-up will take place March 24th at the TD Garden.