WHAT HAPPENED TO ACCOUNTABILITY?
Tuesday night I, along with many others, watched as Zdeno Chara‘s hit sent Max Pacioretty‘s head into a glass stanchion, knocking Pacioretty out cold. I watched as he laid motionless for several minutes. I watched as he was taken out on a stretcher and sent to the hospital. According to Montreal coach Jacques Martin, Pacioretty, 22, suffered a severe concussion and a fracture of the 4th cervical vertebrae when Chara ran him into the end of the glass that divides the players’ benches, late in the second period at Montreal’s Bell Centre. It was an unfortunate play which very well may end Pacioretty’s N.H.L. career, which is a shame since he had been playing so well for the Canadiens. Chara received a penalty for the interference and a game misconduct with a ruling set for Wednesday. Many sports writers were certain Chara would be suspended, some even condemning his actions .
Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun wrote “Did Chara know the support post was there? Almost certainly. It was right beside the Bruins’ bench, past which both players were skating when he began to shove Pacioretty. Did he maliciously push Pacioretty into the post? Speculative, but not out of the question. The two had clashed when Pacioretty scored the winning goal in a January game, and shoved Chara in the back afterward, as he celebrated. But now, the league is into mind-reading, trying to put itself into Chara’s head and determine whether he meant to cause serious injury. And it just doesn’t matter. He did.”
There has to be a level of accountability when it comes to the players and their actions especially when it is perceived to be an “accident”. I am in total agreement with Cam Cole’s statement. Even though Pacioretty should have been more aware of where he was, I’m sure he didn’t expect to have his head shoved into the stanchion. I just don’t buy into the ridiculous idea “it’s part of the game”. I understand that it’s a rough sport, but when it comes to situations like this, when is the N.H.L. going to take a stand and hold players more accountable for their actions? They had the chance Wednesday and they blew it. They didn’t suspend Chara at all which is an outrage.
NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a news release. “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.”
When is enough, enough? What’s it going to take to get through to these people? Does a player have to die to get through to them? I’m sure Mike Murphy would think differently if it were his son or Colin Campbell‘s son. Wait, Colin’s son does play and what a coincidence, he plays for the Boston Bruins same as Chara. Barely three years in, Pacioretty may be forced to retire because of this unfortunate incident where a player was not mindful of his surroundings! That’s what it all comes down to, being mindful of your surroundings. Had Chara paid attention to where he was, he most certainly would not have driven Pacioretty’s head into the glass stanchion! So where’s the accountability?
Bottom line, the hit was late; it was interference; it caused injury and while the design of the boards and glass were largely to blame for the severity of the injury, the responsibility is still with the hitter. Chara should have been suspended, even if for a measly two games, though I think he deserved more. To those reporters who agreed with the N.H.L.’s decision, I ask this: Where is your humanity?
Until the next puck drops,
Posted on March 10, 2011, in N.H.L. and tagged Bell Centre, Boston Bruins, Colin Campbell, Hockey, Jacques Martin, Max Pacioretty, Mike Murphy, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Sports, TSN, Vancouver Sun, Zdeno Chara. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.