So let me get this straight: No cursing on TV, no nudity, no drug or alcohol use, because kids may see it and ‘get the wrong idea’. However, it’s ok to show a man nearly get killed. On the news, there’s often a warning that the upcoming story may contain scenes that are “not suitable for children”. These are mostly scenes with blood or graphic violence.
Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, without exaggeration, was nearly killed on Tuesday night during the Bruins-Canadiens game. In case you missed it – and if you live in Canada or have access to CBC or TSN – you are fortunate enough to be able to see it ad nauseam at any time of day from every possible angle. I am a Montreal Canadiens fan and I was watching the game when it happened. When I saw the replay, I honestly thought his head collapsed. I thought he was comatose.
There is plenty of blame to go around and I think that blaming Zdeno Chara (the Bruins player who hit Pacioretty) is an incredible waste of time and actually discourages a real debate on the issue. The issue is not Chara’s intent. The issue is that this happened at all.
The NHL’s reaction and vice-president of hockey operations Mike Murphy showed not only complete disregard, but utter contempt for the the concussion and brain injury issue facing the NHL today. This has nothing to do with Chara and everything to do with having conviction, or at least decisiveness. The penalty was ‘Interference’ and penalties are a big part of hockey, so calling it a ‘hockey play’, however misguided, is understandable. It’s up to each player to figure out how big or small a bump to give. Even claiming that the play resulted in an “injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface” is somewhat forgivable.
My point is: Grow a pair! Make this the big deal it should be and show everyone that this type of injury will not happen again. Suspend Chara for a long time. Not because the hit he gave was malicious or obviously illegal, but precisely because it wasn’t. I don’t think Chara meant to hurt Pacioretty the way he did, but you’re not going to rid the league of season/career/life- ending collisions by doing nothing. How many players have to have their head smashed before the NHL finally sees that perfectly illegal hit they can punish? It may sound like hyperbole, but take a look at the video of the hit (if you can stomach it), and then you may wonder how long it will be before someone dies from “a hockey play”.