CRIMINAL?? I DON'T THINK SO

Jason Gregor
March 10 2011 11:31AM

The Zdeno Chara hit has sent the country, okay, mainly a few politicians, an airline, an entire province and now the Police, into a frenzy. It was seven years ago this past Tuesday that Todd Bertuzzi jumped Steve Moore and the reaction wasn't close to the emotional outcry that we are witnessing right now.

First it was the politicians trying to gain popularity. via the Toronto Sun:

"I simply don't understand what the NHL is thinking here," Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters after the NHL made its decision. "It's up to the National Hockey League to protect its players. It's up to the National Hockey League to protect all the young kids playing the game. It's up to the National Hockey League to act and I can tell you, there is strong feeling in the House of Commons that if they don't act, then, you know, we should get involved. No politician wants to get involved in this, it's not our business. But as a citizens, as a fan, I think it's outrageous."

The Chara hit came up during daily Question Period in the House of Commons minutes before the NHL released its decision.

NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, who has been pushing new legislation to reduce concussions and other serious injuries in amateur sports, told the House the Chara hit was more evidence new rules are needed.

Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn said the government had been consulting with national sporting organizations on the issue.

"It is something that we hope that the NHL also takes very seriously. This type of hitting is unacceptable," Lunn said. "We would do everything to ensure that NHL does not allow this kind of action to continue."

I'm sure all of us are happy that the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives are so concerned about the game. I'm not sure what new rule Thibeault would like put in, but based on their track record I'm sure they will follow up with a comprehensive study and actually try and do something to lessen concussions.

Or they might put as much work into reducing concussions as they have into making our criminal system more fair.

ENTER AIR CANADA

Then Air Canada sent a letter to Gary Bettman. Here is a portion of  it.

"We are contacting you (Wednesday) to voice our concern over (Tuesday night's) incident involving Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara at the Bell Centre in Montreal," wrote Vandal. "This is following several other incidents involving career-threatening and life-threatening headshots in the NHL recently."

Vandal noted the controversial issue is becoming bad for Air Canada's brand.

"From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality.

"Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey."

Not only does Air Canada own the naming rights to Toronto's Air Canada Centre, it's believed they're a major corporate sponsor behind all six Canadian teams. Air Canada's head office is also located in Montreal.

Call me skeptical, but I wonder how much of this letter had to do with their head office being in Montreal, compared to the backlash of fans/flyers who choose West Jet because they aren't a major NHL sponsor? I might be naive in thinking that this is another case of head office pandering to the rationale and bias-free Montrealers.

AND THEN

Finally the Montreal Police got involved (via TSN)

Law enforcement got involved following a request by Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne.

A spokeswoman for Dionne said that, after seeing television footage of the incident, he issued a recommendation to the provincial Public Security department that an investigation be opened.

The department then forwarded the file to police.

"The police investigation will be held. Like all police investigations, evidence will be gathered and an investigation report will be submitted (to the DCPP)," said spokeswoman Martine Berube.

"(The DCPP) will then evaluate to see whether there's grounds for prosecution."

Asked what kind of punishment could be assessed in a case like Chara's, she replied: "It's too early to say. That would depend on what charges are laid. That's a little difficult to predict at this point."

The move came amid a burst of outrage after the National Hockey League declined to suspend Chara.

Earlier Wednesday, Dionne's own office downplayed talk of a criminal investigation but hardened its tone hours later when the league announced no sanctions would be taken.  

I wonder if the Police in Montreal would have investigated this hit if it was a Boston Bruin on the receiving end? I'm sure the police would have been inundated with calls from Montreal fans livid that an innocent Bruins player was so maliciously attacked on the ice.

To me this is clearly a case where passion and biased emotion has taken charge. Politicians, Air Canada and the Quebec police are pandering to the highly emotional Canadien fans. I will be very surprised if any of these three factions follow through on their threats. Sure there will be an investigation, but I don't see any charges coming.

Air Canada has made their point with their Montreal flyers and I don't see them pulling their sponsorship, while the politicians will jump on the next hot topic very quickly and we won't hear from them until another borderline hockey hit, where a Canadian-based team has one of their players injured.

PARTING SHOT

Check out this Jack Johnson hit on Ryan Smyth. 

One of the biggest arguments/complaints surrounding the Chara hit is that he knew where the "turnbuckle" was and deliberately drove Max Parioretty's head into it. Did Johnson do the same thing here? Outside of Don Cherry showing it on CBC was it ever talked about as much as the Chara hit?

I know Smyth had the puck, but many of the Chara haters suggested his hit was intentional, so was Johnson who was facing the "turnbuckle" just as guilty?

I love hockey, and I love how passionate Canadians are about the game, but in this case too many people have overreacted and have made it more personal than rationale.

That is disappointing. 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 rubbertrout
March 10 2011, 02:06PM
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I like soup.

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#2 Jeremy S.
March 10 2011, 12:25PM
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While everyone in Montreal was calling the cops complaining about a hockey game, 2 murders were committed, 3 people were robbed and a bank robbery happened. Thanks for using up those lines, I am sure the cops have nothing better to do then cater you children.

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#3 Ender
March 10 2011, 04:57PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

To me the reaction to the Chara hit is symptom of a problem deep rooted with NHL management. The lack of consistency, the convluted nature in which decisions are based and the inability to establish concrete rules and responsibilities are my concerns.

A few people have commented that the NHL is inconsistent with their discipline policy. Such is not the case. Here, the decision is certainly consistent with what they’ve done previously. For those who may be unfamiliar with the NHL Discipline Decision-Making Process, a copy the official policy was leaked about a year-and-a-half ago by Toronto blogger DownGoesBrown.

It’s worth a read , if you haven’t seen it already.

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#4 baggedmilk
March 10 2011, 01:43PM
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Maybe we should all start watching Table Tennis - player injuries are far less frequent.

Who's coming with me?!?!?!

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#5 gcw_rocks
March 10 2011, 02:05PM
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book¡e wrote:

I totally disagree and wonder if Ferraro ever played the game (note:I know he did). Do Goalies intentionally stand in the way of the puck, do players ever deflect shots to score goals?

How could it be that players are capable of slit second decisions, but then not be aware of something like pushing someone into a turnbuckle (something that happens relatively slowly compared to a lot of things on the ice). Of course, he could not line it up from 20 steps away (which is what Ferraro was talking about), but once there, he made the decision to give the guy a massive shove right into the turnbuckle (and it was a shove, not just a hit). So, while I don't think it is premeditated in the sense that he planned it for a long time, I do think that he made a last minute decision to nail the guy - even if he regretted it moments later.

With that said, I think the nature of the game has to be taken into account and that 'last second' decision making is tough and that players are asked to really 'punish' other players, but then are also asked to not hurt them seriously. Its a difficult game in that regard.

I am sure he didn't want to break the guy's neck, but I am pretty sure he knew that he was going to really cream the guy and that the turnbuckle was there.

Agreed. These guys have amazing reflexes and its their job to know where they are on the ice.

The NHL's statement should have read:

All NHL players are accountable to know where they are on the ice, and the potential consequences to thier fellow players when they hit, push or otherwise physically engage with another player. Regardless of intent, Mr. Chara should have known where he was on the ice and the potential consequences of running the player into the turnbuckle.

The NHL cannot condone such actions and therefore suspends Mr. Chara for 15 games. Furthermore, the NHL wishes to reinforce to all players that risking the health and safety of other players through such actions will lead to suspensions of equal or greater length for all future transgressions.

Anything less is grossly irresponsible and a sign of a league totally out of touch with society and its fanbase.

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#6 Hemmertime
March 10 2011, 11:37AM
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Ray Ferraro said it exactly how I think of it (god I love him as a color guy). It is ridiculous to think that Chara purposefully turn-buckled him, that would take immense skill, timing, and a murderous intent.

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#7 blue31
March 10 2011, 11:46AM
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@Hemmertime

Rob Brown said after the game last night that Chara knew EXACTLY where the turnbuckle was. These players play a game at lightning speed. They react to things happening on the ice with reflexes that most of us couldn't even comprehend.

How can someone pick a 100mph puck out of mid-air and tip it past a goalie, yet not know exactly where he is on the ice at a moment in time?

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#9 Dan the Man
March 10 2011, 12:04PM
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I'd like to think that Chara had no intention of taking Pacioretty's head off.

I do think it was a reckless and dangerous play but I guess there are a lot of reckless and dangerous plays in hockey.

I also think players should be responsible for their actions regardless of intent.

If the NHL is serious about player saftey then plays like this one should result in suspensions.

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#10 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
March 10 2011, 12:22PM
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blue31 wrote:

I agree. A hit should be administered with just enough force to separate a player from the puck. No more, no less.

Just because a player CAN use the full force of his size, speed and demeanor to hit someone, doesn't give him carte blanche to do the same. Part of being a pro athlete is being in total control of your body during competition.

Also, where is the NHLs culpability in the Chara hit? I've heard people blame Chara. I've heard people blame Pacioretty. Does someone have to be killed hitting one of these turnbuckles, before the NHL takes some responsibility for this disaster-in-waiting?

Part of being a Pro in the NHL is to go 100%. If you want to see people lay off on their hits I'd suggest watching womens hockey.

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#11 thebiggestmanintheworld
March 10 2011, 12:31PM
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Funny. The fact that Smid could of broken someone's neck with a stupid, dangerous hit the same night gets washed away. Also, the fact he only got 5 minutes, and not a game misconduct,for a play that looked a lot more intentional is a big part of the problem the NHL is facing.

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#12 Wanye
March 10 2011, 12:58PM
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Chara is far too tall and he is developing a googly eye of late. In my mind this makes him guilty in every sense of the word.

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#13 spectorslegitson
March 10 2011, 01:06PM
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Gregor;

For once I am going to disagree with you. I usually am on the same page as you, and I was until I seen the hit from a different angle. The angle that showed me that this hit was viscious was the one where they show Pats coming towards Chara, up high and on Chara's back end.

What I dont like about this hit, is this. Chara was guiding him towards the boards, fine and clean. He could have finished him off by guiding him like he was doing and crushing him into the Canadiens bench. You cant argue that he wouldnt have done that either because he still would have got a penalty for interference if he did that instead of smashing him into the turnbuckle. The only difference is that its not a 5 min major and Pats wouldnt be out for the season. The problem I have with Chara's hit, is that he was guiding him out of the play, and at that last second decided to push him into that turnbuckle. You clearly see that from the other camera angle. If he guided him all the way thru to the turnbuckle and this happened (like the smyth incident above) then I think that is a hockey play and an unfortunate incident. However that last minute push, of a 6'9 255 lb defenceman onto a forward going full speed who is already being angled out is where I have a problem with that hit.

I dont agree with Air Canada and its threats as well as the politicians and police getting involved. But I think Chara should have gotten at least a 2 or 3 games.

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#14 Pajamah
March 10 2011, 01:15PM
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While I agree with the tone of the article (as I'm interpreting it)

Politics, corporations, law enforcement etc. need to stay out of what is a hockey matter, I absolutely disagree that what Chara did was within the parameters of a penalty without suspension

Any hockey player knows the dangerous areas (chasing icing calls, cutting laterally at the blue line, in NHL rinks "turnbuckles")

Chara knew what he was doing, as illustrated by his fist in the still picture guiding Pacioretty's head into the buckle. Hockey play or not, Chara's intent was to hit him hard, and he knew exactly where the were on the ice.

Chara deserves a suspension, albeit a short one, but what he did can't be shrugged off as accidental, it wasn't accidental at all.

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#15 gabbana007
March 10 2011, 01:22PM
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What no-one hear realizes is that the score at the time of the hit was 4-0 Montreal with less than 15 seconds on the clock (perfect timing for some retribution). The video being circulated over many media outlets is clear: The puck was long gone. Chara looked up, saw Pacioretty and with his arms, pushed him deliberately into the turnbuckle. A careless, reckless and dangerous play that has no place in hockey.

What no-one else failed to mention was that the last home game Montreal beat Boston, Pacioretty scored than skated towards Chara and they engaged in pushing and shoving. A reporter, working for Boston, was interviewed after the game and he said that Pacioretty should watch himself or else (a clear threat if you ask me).

Finally, the NHL is run by clowns. Maybe more companies need to take a stand and withdraw money from the NHL.

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#16 book¡e
March 10 2011, 01:25PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Ray Ferraro said it exactly how I think of it (god I love him as a color guy). It is ridiculous to think that Chara purposefully turn-buckled him, that would take immense skill, timing, and a murderous intent.

I totally disagree and wonder if Ferraro ever played the game (note:I know he did). Do Goalies intentionally stand in the way of the puck, do players ever deflect shots to score goals?

How could it be that players are capable of slit second decisions, but then not be aware of something like pushing someone into a turnbuckle (something that happens relatively slowly compared to a lot of things on the ice). Of course, he could not line it up from 20 steps away (which is what Ferraro was talking about), but once there, he made the decision to give the guy a massive shove right into the turnbuckle (and it was a shove, not just a hit). So, while I don't think it is premeditated in the sense that he planned it for a long time, I do think that he made a last minute decision to nail the guy - even if he regretted it moments later.

With that said, I think the nature of the game has to be taken into account and that 'last second' decision making is tough and that players are asked to really 'punish' other players, but then are also asked to not hurt them seriously. Its a difficult game in that regard.

I am sure he didn't want to break the guy's neck, but I am pretty sure he knew that he was going to really cream the guy and that the turnbuckle was there.

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#17 Oilcruzer
March 10 2011, 01:44PM
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I have a different take.

He could have eased up. There is no way I am buying that Chara didn't know where he was blah blah blah. It was one of those "how fortunate a location for the hit... this will be even better!" as he pasted the player - and only after did he realize it was a bad idea.

Here's the difference. The NHL is in a pickle. If they say it's intentional, they open the player and the league and their insurers up to litigation.

If they say it's a fault of design... same thing.

So - it just becomes "one of those things that happens in the game" with no real blame vetted out.

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#18 Rogue
March 10 2011, 02:31PM
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If you look in the Sun today, the pic clearly shows that Pac is ahead of Chara AND Charas left arm is up and pushing Pacs head.

It is clearly a head shot and with the rules in the NHL today, he should of been suspended. If Chara had rubbed him into the boards Pacs may still of hit his head. But maybe not.

I think Chara knew what he was doing. If you watch the replay he rubbed him with his body and THEN elbowed him in the head. It did not all happen at the same time.

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#19 OilFan
March 10 2011, 04:19PM
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Toronto must be so mad that Montreal is getting all the media attention

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#20 FastOil
March 10 2011, 04:34PM
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My two cents on Chara - he meant to run Pacc into the turnbuckle. He's a rough guy, just one of those things that pops into the head as the play unfolds, especially given the recent history.

Did he want to cause great harm - no. Did he cause great harm - yes.

The thing is to turn the culture back to what it was 15-20 years ago, through serious repurcussions for negligent, dangerous play, "intended" or not. There have always been Gary Suters around head hunting (serious deliberate injuries to Gretzky and Kariya), but at least only a few at a time, and

The thought/impulse to push Pacc like he did (and others do) wouldn't be there nearly as much as it is. It certainly won't ruin hockey to tone it down a few notches back to contact that is mostly play related - it didn't hurt the game before.

Yes there were instances of crazy, but by and large things were more civil, play related and equally as competitive and watchable. Maybe more so because serious injuries are disturbing to watch and for me take away from the quality of the game.

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#21 Wäx Män Riley
March 10 2011, 04:48PM
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Easy solutions:

Pacioretti needs to understand he was going against Chara, a big, tough, Norris trophy winner, and he needs to be aware of where he is.

This is a tough game and the players get paid a HELL of a good HAZARD PAY. More per week than most of us make in a year.

************************************************************************

The game is too fast:

Why not put up radar speed cameras to fine players that skate too fast. It will slow down the game and give players enough time to think about every little move

The puck is too hard:

Make the puck out of MemoryFoam(tm) so slow the puck down and help eliminate injuries to the face and teeth. Wisniewski would not have been hurt, Laperrier would not have been hurt, COGLIANO would not have been hurt, Pavelec and every goalie would be safer.

Skates are too sharp:

Make all players skate with protectors on so players like Burish, Zednik, Gaborik, and GAGNER would not have been injured.

Sticks are too hard:

Make sticks out of wet noodles so they can't hurt players if there is an errant stick

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So if Chara is found criminally reponsible what the heck does that mean in terms of hockey in Montreal? I mean if the league deems this fair play and this is criminally against the law in Montreal, then doesn't that force Montreal to pull their team?

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#23 Derzie
March 10 2011, 11:44AM
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Gregor, you sir are in a juvenile minority. This ain't MMA son. This isn't just about Chara, it's about Crosby, Richards, Savard, Moore and every other thing that taints hockey for fans. Keep the :being entertained by human suffering" to your MMA where it belongs.

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#24 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
March 10 2011, 11:57AM
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First. Air Canada has no place to lodge a complaint on how the NHL does business. Look at those A-holes. How many times has an AC flight been overbooked, delayed beyond belief. I know I've had up to 18 hour layovers because I was on standby even though I booked the flights 7 months in advance.

Second. If this was a Markov hit on Marchand/Lucic etc. Would there really be this much of an uproar? No.

Montreal fans are great but this is absurd.

It was a hockey play gone wrong. It was a 5 mins for interference penalty. Not a hit from behind, not a blindside check to the head, not a slash to the face, it was a rub out.

Sure Chara knew what he was doing, everyone who has played has tried to angle someone into the glass like that, but it hasn't been penalized before why now? Just because it was a Canadien? Yeah, that makes sense. *facepalm

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#25 Oilers21
March 10 2011, 12:03PM
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If the NHL is really serious about getting rid of hits to the head then every headshot, whether intentional or not, should result in some sort of suspension. If a player hits another player with a high stick, whether accidental or not, he is assessed a penalty. If a player dumps the puck over the glass in the defensive zone, whether he intended to or not, he is assessed a penalty. So IF the NHL feels that headshots are more serious offenses than these, and they REALLY WANT them gone from the game, a suspension should ALWAYS follow if a player hits another in the head. The argument that a player "wasn't aware of his surroundings" is ridiculous; these players are paid millions of dollars because they are more aware of their surroundings than your average person. And to say that this would "take hitting out of the game" makes about as much sense as saying the NFL's headshot rule will remove tackling from football. Of course, if the NHL really DOESN'T want headshots out of the game, then by all means continue applying the arbitrary and puzzling method of punishment (or not) that we see today.

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#26 blue31
March 10 2011, 12:06PM
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Derzie wrote:

Gregor, you sir are in a juvenile minority. This ain't MMA son. This isn't just about Chara, it's about Crosby, Richards, Savard, Moore and every other thing that taints hockey for fans. Keep the :being entertained by human suffering" to your MMA where it belongs.

I agree. A hit should be administered with just enough force to separate a player from the puck. No more, no less.

Just because a player CAN use the full force of his size, speed and demeanor to hit someone, doesn't give him carte blanche to do the same. Part of being a pro athlete is being in total control of your body during competition.

Also, where is the NHLs culpability in the Chara hit? I've heard people blame Chara. I've heard people blame Pacioretty. Does someone have to be killed hitting one of these turnbuckles, before the NHL takes some responsibility for this disaster-in-waiting?

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#27 Zarf
March 10 2011, 12:07PM
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Here's a thought: How about looking into ways of re-designing/re-engineering the "turnbuckles" so they're not a safety factor?

I mean, I don't see a lot of point in debating whether or not Chara accidentally or intentionally hit Pacioretty into the turnbuckle. But I do think it's worth exploring innovative ways of making that area safer - I'm amazed that there aren't more bad collisions there.

Pretty much any body check - especially one involving a dude who's seven or eight inches taller than the other - ends up looking bad if that turnbuckle is there. I'd even suggest that if Chara's hit had taken place on any other normal, flat, square, boards-and-glass part of the playing area, it wouldn't have been that bad.

They put a net up around both ends of the rink ater that tragic death of the little girl in Columbus all those years ago - surely they can do something about that turnbuckle area to make it safer and less prone to accidents ... or intentional hits.

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#28 Kodiak
March 10 2011, 12:11PM
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I agree with those saying it wasn't intentional, but a 2-4 game suspension would have made the league look a lot better whether a suspension was deserved or not. I do think Chara knew where he was and he knew that what happened was possible. To me that warrants a few game suspension.

On the flipside, Pacioretty knew where he was as well and could have gotten off the tracks prior to getting tangled up with Chara. It's no different than guys turning their backs and getting hit from behind. Both are at fault and it is every players responsibility to protect themselves as well as each other.

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blue31 wrote:

I agree. A hit should be administered with just enough force to separate a player from the puck. No more, no less.

Just because a player CAN use the full force of his size, speed and demeanor to hit someone, doesn't give him carte blanche to do the same. Part of being a pro athlete is being in total control of your body during competition.

Also, where is the NHLs culpability in the Chara hit? I've heard people blame Chara. I've heard people blame Pacioretty. Does someone have to be killed hitting one of these turnbuckles, before the NHL takes some responsibility for this disaster-in-waiting?

How do you know how much force to use? Granted BOS and MON play quite often and Chara might've known, but say it's WSH and EDM does Jacques know how much it takes to get Ovechkin off the puck? Probably not.

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#30 freeze
March 10 2011, 12:23PM
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Didn't one (or more) of the Rock Em Sock Em videos have an entire montage of devastating turnbuckle hits? Seems like the act was celebrated in hockey circles at one time. Now, all of the sudden, its a travesty worthy of uproar? We've seen far more egregious acts on the ice go unpunished; let it go everyone. Hopefully the player makes a full recovery. The cops should stay out of this unless they want to start policing every contact sport. Players know the risks and fans love the violent intensity; until the players start making or requesting changes everyone else should get off their high horse.

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thebiggestmanintheworld wrote:

Funny. The fact that Smid could of broken someone's neck with a stupid, dangerous hit the same night gets washed away. Also, the fact he only got 5 minutes, and not a game misconduct,for a play that looked a lot more intentional is a big part of the problem the NHL is facing.

What's even funnier is the Flyers who apparently are a goon squad had many chances to lay Smid out, and for some reason they pulled a Dustin Penner and held up or layed of completely.

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#32 Chickenplucker
March 10 2011, 12:51PM
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@Oilers21

Chara's hit wasn't a head shot.

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#33 Oilers21
March 10 2011, 12:56PM
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Chickenplucker wrote:

Chara's hit wasn't a head shot.

OK fair enough...headshot or "guiding someone's head into a pole at top speed"

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#34 Mike
March 10 2011, 12:58PM
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Slapshotzky wrote:

Hey Derzie,don't disagree with jason unless you want to have your p#* p#* slapped. Better get yourself a radio show to compete with his awesomeness, I'm gonna cover my virtual head from gregors virtual punches to the face now....duck for cover. By the way I agree with this article.

So you agree with Gregor, but can't help yourself by whining that if you don't he will question you? You just proved why you are a poster like us, and not a host/writer. I'm amazed at how patient Gregor is with many of the dimwit callers and posters like you.

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#35 freeze
March 10 2011, 01:12PM
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I hope this issue doesn't dominate The Jason Gregor Show today... I'm kind of sick of it echoing through the halls of sport.

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#36 Greg MC
March 10 2011, 01:13PM
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There is a history between Chara and Pacoiretty. Looking at the video I cannot say it was on purpose to cause injury, but my gut feeling is that Chara meant to inflict pain.

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#38 Starving Student
March 10 2011, 01:21PM
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The only thing illegal about Chara's hit was that it may have been interference. The hit itself was not overly physical, it was a defensemen rubbing out a forward. Routine play in hockey. It was the "turnbuckle" (don't turnbuckles require some sort of rope???) that did the damage. So why does he need to be suspended?

I too thought of the Ryan Smyth incident when I said the Chara hit. This isn't something new. It's just like Zarf had wrote, why not focus on the real cause and re-engineer a new "turnbuckle" where safety has been vastly improved.

What happens when a player gets checked into an open door (which has happened)? Will we be calling for the removal of hits because doors open? Come on people. Be better.

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#39 Anon
March 10 2011, 01:26PM
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The way I see it...if I get in a car accident and it's my fault, then I pay the price. It doesn't matter what my intent is. True, if I intentionally ram the person, then I get a harsher punishment. But even if I don't intentionally do it, and somebody is seriously injured or killed due to my actions, then I still pay a price, possibly even jail time.

You may say that car accidents don't equate with hockey hits. But to me, there is something fundamentally wrong with a sport if an incident like this can occur and NOTHING happens. There are no consequences whatever. People say this was just a "hockey play"? Well, then maybe there is something wrong with hockey.

For the record, I'm not a Montreal fan. But I am curious as to what the response on this board would be if this had happened to one of our young stars.

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#40 book¡e
March 10 2011, 01:30PM
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Champ wrote:

One thing that I haven't heard mentioned is if there's a safer way to make that corner. If there have been some pretty major injuries because of that corner, they should research ways to make that safer. In football, they put that huge ring of padding around the goal posts. Maybe a similar idea could be used in the NHL.

There are lots of ways to do this, their could be a short angle put in place (as opposed to a basic 90 degree corner), more padding would help, but an angled corner would really help (so from above it would look more like 1/4th of an octagon than 1/4th of a square).

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#41 Captain Obvious
March 10 2011, 01:52PM
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The NHL has demonstrated that they are unable to police themselves. If they are unable to police themselves it is the responsible of others to do the policing.

Arbitrary justice creates a vacuum that is filled from below by retribution (see Gillies) and by above through tyranny (see Government). If the NHL had done the right thing and suspended Chara this conversation wouldn't be happening.

It is an upside down world when Gillies gets suspended for 10 games for nothing but Chara gets nothing for ending someone's career.

The real villains however are Mike Murphy and Colin Campbell. This is their fault and they should be held accountable.

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#42 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
March 10 2011, 01:58PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Maybe we should all start watching Table Tennis - player injuries are far less frequent.

Who's coming with me?!?!?!

Table tennis is much too violent. It scares me as a man, with all that slapping and whacking of balls.

I'll take my chances and watch bowling.

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#43 CupBoundCanucks
March 10 2011, 02:22PM
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This was a rare occurrence in the NHL, but the league needs better rules in place for instances where players are driven into turnbuckles or open gates intentionally. Those plays are just as dirty as headshots and don't tell me players don't know where the glass/benches are. How many years does a pro player spend in a hockey rink?? It is absurd to think they don't know the dangerous areas of the boards.

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#44 blue31
March 10 2011, 02:29PM
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OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM wrote:

Part of being a Pro in the NHL is to go 100%. If you want to see people lay off on their hits I'd suggest watching womens hockey.

Wrong. I don't think you understood my comments. Where did I say players should lay off the hits?

Part of being a Pro in any league is knowing 100% when to use the full force of your strength. Does it make sense to fire a slapshot from 10 feet in front of the net, because it's your hardest shot? Does a pitcher picking up a ground ball rifle a 110mph fastball to first base to get the runner out? Do you pull out a driver when you are 4 feet from the pin? Just because you can?

Are you suggesting that every hit has to be administered with the full force that a player is capable of? That a player who got rid of the puck two steamboats ago needs to be destroyed, because that's "going 100%"

That is different from my feeling that a hit should be given appropriately. If the only way to separate a strong player like Ovechkin from the puck is to put him through the boards, I'm good with that.

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#45 gabbana007
March 10 2011, 03:00PM
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@OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM

But where does the responsibility come into play here?

Was it necessary to shove his arm into Pacioretty's head, thus forcing him into the stantion?

No way can anyone say that Chara is not the culprit. By pushing Pacioretty into the stantion, he disregarded the safety of the player. He could have rubbed him out or hooked him or held him instead. No, he decided to disregard the puck, look up at Pacioretty and annihilate him into the stantion.

Pathetic!

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#46 Pucker
March 10 2011, 03:06PM
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Back in the WHA days I went to game Oilers vs Houston. My grandpa actually flew in from Vancouver so he could come and see Gordie Howe play. Well back then the Oil had some checker. I think his name was Bill Lang. Long straight hair. Tall. Lanky. No helmut.

He was skating along side Gordie, yakking at him and as they passed the Oiler's bench, Gordie leaned his elbow on Bill's head. WHAMO - into the stanchion. Bill did a 360 or 540 before he hit the ice. He didn't appear to be any worse for wear. It was more funny than scary.

Anyway, that was the first time I seen that happen. Howe didn't get a penalty but I'm sure he (and Chara) are well aware of where these stanchions are. This Chara hit was more scary than funny.

These two incidents are very indicative of how the game has evolved over the past 30 years.

I really thing there should be rule covering these types of plays, whether intentional or not - and a suspension of some sort. Particularly when a player is seriously hurt. There needs to be a sliver of respect for other players in the game.

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#47 Bryzarro World
March 10 2011, 03:52PM
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To you people that are using the excuse that the game is played "lightning" fast so he didn't know what he was doing.... please stop making me laugh.

Lets start off with the positioning. You telling me that he has no clue where he is on the ice? He has never been to a game before and doesn't know where the benches are? Doesn't know that there is glass seperating the benches? He isn't aware of where he is on the ice? If you believe that you are dumber that what you are making him out to be. Playing 13 years I am sure he knows or he has a severe mental problem.

Now you are gonna listen to Gregor's "mind reader crap".. Please. Then any video evidence in any trial or case should be thrown out cause nobody knows at anytime, anywhere what someone else would be thinking. He knew where he was.. didn't finish a check but pushed him into the turn buckle and veered off. The puck was long gone and wasn't trying to seperate anything from anyone. Maybe he didn't know who the exact player was but that doesn't matter. Doesn't matter who it was.. it was a cheap ass play deserving of a suspension.

The fastest computer known to man is the human brain. It can handle and compute more that you or I can even fathom. So Chara is mildly retarded now? Were his senses over stimulated? LOL.. he was just skating... that's all. Was he flying a F-35? Was he involved in a docking to the space station? Those are tasks that take all your senses and concentration. Are hockey players that stupid? They can't skate and be aware of their surroundings at the same time?

Chara might not have known it was him but he knew full well what he was doing.

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#48 Slapshotzky
March 10 2011, 04:06PM
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Doesn't this article, and the many others like it, prove that the system is broken? We are all turning into lawyers now. Save the players at all costs!

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#49 jeanshorts
March 10 2011, 04:22PM
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Just a couple quick points;

I'm with you on the Air Canada thing (well I'm with you on the entire thing). As soon as I saw the guys name was Denis Vandal from Montreal I pretty much discredited the entire letter as nothing more than another riled up Habs fan looking for some kind of retribution.

And I love that whenever a player gets hurt on a freak play/accident, hell, even if it's Matt Cooke throwing another hit from behind, that so many people come out of the woodwork screaming "THE NHL SHOULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS!!!!!" As if Gary Bettman was supposed to jump down from the rafters and throw his body in front of Pacciorety's to absorb the brunt of the impact? Give your head a shake. There's laws that forbid murder, rape, theft, drunk driving, etc, yet these things happen EVERY SINGLE DAY! I don't understand why people think the NHL is any different. Accidents happen and unfortunately there's always going to be people that break the rules. Nothing is 100% preventable.

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#50 jaicee
March 10 2011, 04:51PM
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DC wrote:

Then I am in that minority too. This is about Chara and Pacioretty. Where was Ignatief when Savard was crunched? Or Richards? or Crosby even? ....Oh that's right, they're not Habs players are they? Did anyone say charge Steckel he hurt Crosby? Nope. (Not that I heard anyway) This is crazy, that was a very violent hit. It was not a dirty play though. It sucks he was hurt bad, but a hit like that is clean. 10 feet further up the ice and everyone is praising Chara for finishing his check so well.

Again, they didn't almost die.

When a player is almost killed from a viscous hit, and the league sends a message loud and clear that there was nothing wrong with that hit... there is a problem.

The distinguihing fact between your examples and this one... they didn't almost die!

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