The outrage has begun. Twitter is going mad and fans across the states and Canada are voicing their opinion of the NHL’s action in relation to Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty. Here’s an in depth video of the incident with a few different angles, as well as commentary.
The opinions about this “hockey play” as many are calling it will run rampant. Was there intent to injure? Did Chara know what he was doing? Was the play happening so fast that there was no way to avoid it? Was Max a victim of a player six inches taller? Was this a textbook play gone wrong? Did Chara raise his elbow and arm as he was riding Max into the boards? Was it ugly? Was it reckless? Was it stupid? Could it have been avoided?
Here’s more from TSN.ca.
Many of us will think the NHL’s decision is right, and many of us will think the NHL’s decision is wrong. The one factor that we seem to lose sight of is that the NHL doesn’t use logic in many of these situations. Or they appear to throw it out the window. Trevor Gillies gets a 10 game suspension for a hit that’s not nearly as bad as the Chara hit. But Gillies and other players like him who are repeat offenders get the book thrown at them. Chara on the other hand continues to avoid suspension, and the “he’s not a repeat offender” remark comes into play. As of today, he’s still not a repeat offender, yet he’s found himself in an NHL hearing on more than one occasion.
No matter what I think, I don’t believe that there was full intent to injure, but the fact of the matter is the NHL needs to do more to protect it’s players. Jeff Bartl from Blackhawk Up was on Twitter this afternoon shortly after the hearing was over and indicated a few times that the NHL does not do enough to protect it’s players in the environment that they play in. (I am summarizing). The stanchions need to be looked at, and a plan needs to be put into place to provide some sort of padding or protection from this happening again. Fortunately Max didn’t break his neck. Fortunately he’ll recover. Playing hockey is one thing, but leading a normal life is paramount at this time. Jeff ultimately makes a very good point. Something that should be discussed at the upcoming General Manager’s meetings here in Florida.
I honestly thought a suspension of some sort was coming. I think the NHL got this wrong. This statement coming from someone that loves physical play and likes to see players finish their checks. But the problem with today’s game seems to be the way players hit one another. Years ago when there were no mandatory helmuts, and there was no instigator rule, the reason for hitting was mainly to separate the player from the puck. Hitting now seems to have a totally different meaning, and that definition seems to change with each and every incident.
The game has changed in many ways for the better. However, players are bigger, stronger, faster and the equipment that they wear is also bigger and harder. Let’s not wait until a player dies in the ice before we figure out that something needs to be done.
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