March 10, 2011

Chara: Pacioretty has 'right to be emotional'

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. (Getty)

BOSTON -- Whether or not the league decided to suspend him for his hit on Max Pacioretty, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was fully prepared to respect their decision.

 The fact that he now knows he won't be missing any time, however, as the NHL elected to neither fine nor suspend the 6-foot-9 defenseman, is certainly a relief.

 "Obviously I'm satisfied and happy about it," said Chara. "The league, they looked at it and made the decision and I'm happy with that."

 After being told that Pacioretty lashed out at the media upon hearing the news that Chara wouldn't be punished, the Bruins blueliner said he completely understands the Canadiens winger's frustrations.

 "He's in the hospital, he has the right to be emotional and I respect that," said Chara. "I obviously feel bad that he got hurt. As hockey players, we all feel bad when something like that happens. It doesn't matter if you're the home team or the visiting team."

 As expected, Chara is hopeful that Pacioretty can get back to being fully healthy as soon as possible.

 "We're wishing him a fast recovery and hopefully he can be back on the ice soon," Chara said. "That's all we can do. Obviously we go out there and we take risks, and sometimes we get hurt. It's just unfortunate."

 What you won't find the veteran defenseman saying, however, is that he ever fathomed the play ending the way it did.

 "It was just a hockey play that developed and I know, deep down, I didn't do it intentionally," he said. "I've said it before that it's not my style. I never try to hurt anybody. Obviously I play physical and I play hard, but that's not what I intended to do."

 In fact, Chara indicated that he wasn't even aware of the identity of the player he hit at the time.

 "It was a faceoff and we tried to set up a play, and basically the puck went to the other side and I had no idea he was on the ice," he said. "I had no idea it was him."

 While legal issues may arise from the incident in Montreal, as an investigation has been opened per the request of Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions, all Chara plans on focusing his attention on is doing his job.

 "I got some media information on that this morning, but right now I'm just focusing on my game and playing hockey," he said. "We'll see."