Pacioretty 'disgusted' by lack of suspension: TSN
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty says he is "disgusted" that the NHL did not suspend Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara for the devastating hit that left him with a concussion and a broken fourth vertebra in his neck.
"I am upset and disgusted that the league didn't think enough of (the hit) to suspend him," Pacioretty told TSN's Bob McKenzie. "I'm not mad for myself, I'm mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it's okay, they won't be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt."
"It's been an emotional day. I saw the video for the first time this morning. You see the hit, I've got a fractured vertebrae, I'm in hospital and I thought the league would do something, a little something. I'm not talking a big number, I don't know, one game, two games, three games...whatever, but something to show that it's not right."
NHL senior vice-president Mike Murphy said the Chara hit "was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface.
"After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline," he said in a statement.
Murphy had a supplemental discipline hearing with Chara Wednesday.
Pacioretty was taken from the ice on a stretcher with his eyes still closed after Chara crushed him into the glass partition at the end of one of the player's benches near the end of the second period.
Chara was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct for the hit, which occurred Tuesday night in Montreal.
"I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous," Murphy said.
Stop calling: police
Earlier Wednesday, Montreal police asked fans to stop calling them to demand charges be laid against Zdeno Chara.
Police said they were overwhelmed with calls from people wanting to file a complaint against Chara.
Fans appear to be appealing to the police for some form of justice after the NHL announced there would be no supplementary discipline for Chara earlier in the afternoon.
A police spokesperson said it looked like the calls were inspired by a member of the local media.
Police asked Montreal to leave the emergency line open for actual life-and-death calls.
"Someone in the media has been telling people to call the police to complain," Sgt. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police told The Canadian Press.
"This shows a serious lack of responsibility."
Police are not required to start an investigation in response to a public complaint.
For the case to be pushed forward, it is likely the victim would need to complain.
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin confirmed the injuries during a press conference on Wednesday, saying Pacioretty remained under observation in hospital.
"The important thing for the organization right now is Max's recovery. We will follow the recommendation from the doctors," said Martin.
Pacioretty was in hospital overnight for examination, but a team spokesman said he had regained consciousness and had movement in his extremities.
"It was an infraction," Martin said of the hit. "It is now up to the league to decide on the consequences."
Chara, one of the league's biggest players, has not been suspended in his 13-year career.
"That's not my style to hurt somebody," Chara told reporters following the game. "I always play hard and play physical, but I never try to hurt anybody."
The hit came amid heightened concern about concussions in the National Hockey League.
Superstar Sidney Crosby remains on the sidelines after taking a serious hit during the NHL's Winter Classic in early January. Crosby returned following the game and was checked into the boards again four days later. He hasn't returned to the ice since.
Next week, when the NHL's general managers hold their annual meeting, the issue of how to handle concussions in players is expected to be a hot topic of discussion.
The news last week that former NHL enforcer Bob Probert had a degenerative brain disease has also stirred a debate about the safety of fighting in hockey.
"It is not our role to accuse. There was an incident that occurred and there have been other incidences," Martin told reporters. "The league has to look at all those incidents that have had serious repercussions to certain players and I think at some point address it."