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Montreal police open investigation on Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty

Mar 10, 2011, 1:13 PM EDT

Max Pacioretty AP

Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty has created a firestorm of debate over the past few days. When awful incidents like this occur, it’s normal for all sides to get their emotions wound up. One part of this whole situation that hasn’t gotten worked up is the real world effects that happen when a horribly violent incident occurs on the ice. That’s about to change now, however.

The Montreal Police Department is opening an investigation on Chara’s hit from Tuesday night.

Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. Police added that after evidence is collected it will then be determined if there are grounds for prosecution.

Hearing that the police have gotten involved in this may be just a way for them to cool off the locals in the city who have inundated their switchboards with calls to go after Chara, so much so they’ve asked people to stop calling them about the incident.

We’ve seen authorities get involved in past on-ice incidents. Marty McSorley’s stick-swinging attack on Donald Brashear in 2000, Todd Bertuzzi‘s assault of Steve Moore in 2004, and Dino Ciccarelli’s attack on Luke Richardson in 1988 which earned him a night in jail all come to mind.

The difference with those incidents and this one, of course, all lie in the intent. As far as we can tell, Chara didn’t purposefully try to smash Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion that broke his neck and gave him a severe concussion. Of course, even accidental situations where someone is seriously injured can lead to a criminal investigation, this doesn’t appear to be one where any charges will ultimately be filed, however.

The one way this could be made into a more serious situation would be if Pacioretty were to press charges against Chara. Even though Pacioretty is understandably angry about what happened, it seems doubtful we’ll see things be taken that far.

  1. ballistictrajectory - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    There is a reason the Habs’ GM has remained quiet. This was a routine play gone horribly wrong. I’ve seen this happen hundreds of time in rinks all over the country and the simple solution is to improve the quality of the protection on the stanchion, not jump all over a player because he finished his check. Yes, interference was evident and it got called. Five minutes due to player injury… OK I can see that but really now, come on. Montreal has again raised the level of reaction to the point of being ridiculous.

    I’ll lay odds that the very play that injured Pacioretty unfolds several times in every game played in every hockey league above midget level. Defensemen are taught to angle rushing opponents into the boards and it’s expected, encouraged, and perfectly legit.

    Yes, I’ve seen players leave games with shoulder injuries, back injuries, and now a broken neck because the stanchion is WAY less forgiving than the boards or the glass. Fix the real problem and let the spoiled Montreal crybabies go back to sneering at the rest of North America.

  2. stakex - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I don’t know if there is more to say then ballistictrajectory’s great post.

    What I can add is that its almost sickening to see police getting involved for what amounts to a clear hockey play. I understand the Montreal fans are harassing them… but the police should simply make a public statement that there is nothing illegal that happened, and nothing will be done. Coming out and saying they are investigating just makes it sound like there is a reason to call for Charas head… so really they are just throwing gas on the fire. The NHL should make a statement denouncing the Monstreal police. I mean the league has already reviewed the play and deemed it to not be dirty… and they have to do their best to keep the situation under control. Letting the police get involved for something thats CLEARLY just a standard hockey play can’t stand without a fight from the NHL. If the NHL does allow the investigation without a fight… every time someone is hurt in a hit, clean or not, fans will be demanding police action.

    The funny thing about this is, I though Canadians were suppose to be so hockey educated? Anyone who has played any sort of contact hockey knows there was nothing wrong with the play from a dirty point of view… yet these supposedly hockey educated fans are acting like a bunch of uneducated children.

    Get over yourself Montreal fans.

  3. thebigolddog - Mar 10, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Where were these hypocrite reactionaries when Max Pacioretty Gruesomely Hit Mark Eaton from behind in December?

    The hypocrisy is nauseating.

  4. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    really? seriously? even max says he doesnt want the cops doing this. what a useless waste of resources

  5. joepags - Mar 11, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    this is a disgrace!!! the hit was legal, and not intended to hurt, it was unfortunate!!! if anything comes of this, it will start the sissification of the NHL, its a brutal sport that all involved know the chance of injuries. this will become like football, let me rephrase that national flag league(NFL)!

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