March 9, 2011

Chara not suspended for hit on Pacioretty

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. (Getty)

WILMINGTON-- The highly-anticipated verdict is in, and the Boston Bruins can breathe a sigh of relief.

 Team captain Zdeno Chara was neither fined nor suspended for his hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty in the second period of Boston's 4-1 loss in Montreal on Tuesday night.

 The 6-foot-9 blueliner had a conference call with the NHL's vice president of hockey operations, Mike Murphy, prior to the team's practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday afternoon.

 "Obviously I feel bad about what happened," Chara said, prior to learning that he would not be suspended. "I'm trying to make a strong hockey play and it's very unfortunate the player got hurt and had to leave the game."

 Pacioretty was taken off the ice on a stretcher after slamming his head and neck off of a stanchion between the two benches, as he remained down on the ice at the Bell Centre for several minutes with members of both teams' medical staffs attending to him.

 Chara has yet to have the opportunity to get in touch with the Canadiens winger.

 "I didn't have a chance yet," Chara said. "We got in last night pretty late and we had a busy morning, but I'm planning on it."

 Pacioretty remains in the hospital, as he sustained a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae.

 The 22-year-old winger had been enjoying a spectacular season for the Habs since being recalled on a permanent basis in December, chipping in 14 goals and 10 assists in 37 contests.

 The Canadiens organization and fans will undoubtedly have some scathing words to say about both the incident and the subsequent decision, but Murphy deemed that the end-result of Chara's hit wasn't the Bruins defenseman's intention.

 “This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface," said Murphy.

 Chara and the Bruins will be back in action on Thursday night, taking on the visiting Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.