Thursday, March 10, 2011


Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images. Used without Permission.

A lot has been written about Zdeno Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty on Tuesday. Most of it by wiser and more articulate people than I. More thoughts sprang into my head today with the news that the Lightning's Pavel Kubina was suspended for three games for an elbow to Dave Bolland's head in last night's game against the Blackhawks. Chara's hit gave Pacioretty a grade 3 concussion and broke his fourth vertebrate. Chara was not suspended. Chara was not even fined.

I'm not suggesting that Chara is a dirty player, not by any means. I'm also not saying that he went after Pacioretty with the intent to injure. But the 7th anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi sucker punching Steve Moore in the back of the head and breaking his neck in a fall to the ice is upon us. One of the ugliest moments for the NHL in recent memory and another horrific injury is putting the sport of hockey on the front page for all of the wrong reasons again. Luckily, Pacioretty was released from the hospital today. Luckily, he isn't paralyzed. Unluckily, we don't know if he will ever be able to play hockey again. A 22 year old kid might have had his livelihood taken away from him. At this point, I think intent has to be thrown out the window. No matter who was the one on the giving end of that hit, the league should do something. To show that actions like that, routine hockey play that it may be, cannot and will not be tolerated. Instead, the only message that comes across is that it will take someone dying on the ice before their disciplinary system achieves any sort of consistency.

Just to recap: Sean Avery was suspended 6 games for lewd comments to the press. Pavel Kubina was suspended 3 games for an elbow to the head. Zdeno Chara is not punished when a colleague has a broken neck and Matt Cooke is still at large with no repercussions. It's a joke, but I don't feel much like laughing.

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