I read an interesting article in Sports Illustrated a couple months ago. It was a second by second breakdown of Crosby’s OT gold medal goal. I want to try and do the same thing with the Pacioretty hit. I’m a Habs fan, and it is very hard for me to not be unbiased when I see a young and promising talent out cold on the ice after he went neck first into a steel pole. Nevertheless, I will try and be unbiased and try and dissect what was probably the worst hockey incident I’ve everwitnessed.
Pacioretty beats Chara to the puck and chips it up the boards. He is starting to gain on the outside and I can only guess that Chara recognizes this and starts to cut in, hoping to cut Pacioretty off.
Chara is beaten to the outside. He begins to initiate contact, which at this point is an interference penalty. I am thinking that Chara knows he’s beat and is wanting to slow Pacioretty down, hoping he doesn’t get the call. Perhaps he thinks a hook or a hold would be too blatant? Regardless, at this point, I believe Chara’s only goal is to slow Pacioretty down with physical force, because he knows he can’t skate with him.
For all of .07 seconds Chara rides Pacioretty along the boards. When Chara initiated contact, it is obvious where they are on the ice…right in front of the Boston bench. I can’t bring myself to think that Chara wanted to injure Pacioretty (I like to give humanity some credit), but I can bring myself to believe that he saw an opportunity to maybe flip Pacioretty over the boards and into the Boston bench. He may have already known he was going to get a penalty, so why not give it a little more and get Pacioretty into the laps of his teamates? It’s a good highlight reel, and usually a little humiliating for the guy who gets flipped.
Unfortunately, .07 seconds isn’t enough time to really process a decision. There isn’t enough boards left, and I believe the shoving motion that put Pacioretty’s head into the partition, was actually meant to throw him over the boards.
There’s the shove I am talking about. Chara starts with taking Pacioretty’s body in an interference play, and then he shoves. I think Pacioretty would have hit the partition regardless, but Chara shoving shows that he was trying to do more. Like I said, I can’t bring myself to believe that another human being would purposely shove another human being’s head into a solid partition, but I think Chara did want to make a point…sadly he made the wrong point.
This is where I stop showing images. Seeing Pacioretty motionless on the ice with his saliva frozen from his mouth is not something I want to screen-capture and post.
My main issues, besides the obvious are:
- The thinking that Chara didn’t intend to injure. Intent actually has nothing to do with it. If I get in my car on a snowy day, and I slide into a pedestrian because I couldn’t break in time, I am still held responsible. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the fact that the incident wouldn’t have happened had it not been snowing, I am responsible for my actions. Same applies here.
- People claiming had this happened in a corner, no injury would have occurred. Well it didn’t happen in the corner, so no point talking about it.
- Saying that Chara isn’t a dirty player. So what? Only dirty players make bad decisions? And besides, who decides who is a dirty player? His teamates? His coach?
We will find out soon what the league decides. I am not holding my breath for any ground breaking decision. It will likely be 2-games for Chara and 4-6 weeks of rehabilitation for Pacioretty. The National Parity League doesn’t have all that much parity when it comes to punishing injury inducing hits like this.