First of all, I’m very surprised that Chara was not suspended for the hit. Regardless of Chara’s intent, I assumed that he would have received at least some sort of punishment from the league because of the magnitude of what had occurred. However, I applaud the NHL for not doing disciplining him further.
I, like every one else, wish Max Pacioretty the best and hope that he is able to fully recover and resume his NHL career at full strength. Furthermore, I agree with a penalty being called on the play simply because of Chara’s left arm extending a bit and the fact that he is supposed to release from the hit in that situation. But to say that Chara intentionally rammed Pacioretty into that “turnbuckle,” as Andy Brickley described it, is insane.
Even more insane is the investigation being launched in response to the situation, and Dave Stubbs of The Montreal Gazette‘s comparison of the hit to the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Aside from both occurring in the vicinity of ice and being extremely unfortunate accidents, I’m not seeing the parallels.
The fact of the matter is that there will be those who get up in arms because of the seriousness of Pacioretty’s injury, which I think is human nature and completely understandable. After all, it’s an unfortunate occurrence when someone gets hurt, especially a player that young that severely. But taking a step back, I just cannot convince myself that injuring Pacioretty — especially to that extent — was Chara’s intent when battling with him along the boards in a physical game of a physical rivalry.