Should the NHL Have Suspended Zdeno Chara for the Hit on Max Pacioretty?

This past week, the NHL saw a horrific hit on the ice as Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara hit Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into the boards causing a concussion and a cracked vertebrae. Chara has not received a suspension or fine for the hit, which depending on the source, was either dirty or just a plain hit.

Since the hit occurred, many have been asking if Chara should have been suspended or disciplined for the hit. The Montreal Canadiens have been outrages Chara was never disciplined for the hit and the Montreal police started to investigate if a crime had been committed. The Canadiens and others feel that no justice was served after what many thought was a vicious attack on Pacioretty.

When viewing the hit, others have simply believed that it was a freak accident and that Chara’s hit was clean. Hits in hockey do happen as well as injuries that result from them. Pacioretty has publicly stated he is disappointed that Chara was not suspended but does not want Chara prosecuted and felt the hit was “part of a hockey game.” Chara has said he had no intention on hurting Pacioretty with the hit and he was given a penalty for the incident in the game.

Over the past several years, similar hits have occurred that resulted in suspensions and have been considered vicious. For example, in 2004, Todd Bertuzzi (a member of the Vancouver Canucks at the time) was suspended for a year after attacking Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore on the ice, ending Moore’s career. This attack was seen as vicious and the NHL reacted by suspending Bertuzzi indefinitely and for an entire season. Bertuzzi is still booed for the hit to this day and the hit was viewed as being an attack.

Even though the Bertuzzi hit was considered an attack and not a legal action, other hard hits have been memorable but have stayed within the legal ramifications of the game. For example, during the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens put a huge check on Mighty Ducks forward Paul Kariya that resulted in Kariya getting a concussion. The hit was big and hurt Kariya, however, Stevens never was considered for a suspension and similar to Chara, never intended to hurt anyone on the play.

In recent time, the debate on whether or not Chara should have been suspended has been going on and different opinions will be formed as a result. Some believe Chara’s act was an attack while others feel it was an accident that occurs as part of the game.

 

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~ by jeffrsabo on March 12, 2011.

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