Chara avoids suspension for Pacioretty hit

Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara will not be suspended for his hit on Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, the NHL ruled on Wednesday.

Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara will not be suspended for his hit on Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, the NHL ruled on Wednesday.

Pacioretty, 22, was taken off on a stretcher from the Bell Centre in Montreal late in the second period Tuesday and hospitalized. The Canadiens said that the forward suffered a broken vertebra and a severe concussion.

"After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline," Mike Murphy of the NHL said in a statement.

"This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. 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, senior vice-president of hockey operations for the NHL, continued: "This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface.  In reviewing this play, I also took into consideration that Chara has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career."

Chara was slapped with a five-minute major and a game misconduct after the hit. Before his call with the NHL, the Bruins captain spoke about the hit.

"It's just one of those things," he told the Bruins website. "Like glass extensions, doors, even hockey nets are part of the game and obviously players run into them. It's just very, very unfortunate that a player got hurt."

Chara added he plans to contact Pacioretty at some point in the future.

"It's been hard obviously," he said. "I feel bad about what happened … I was trying to make a strong hockey play and play hard and it's very unfortunate, like I said, that a player got hurt and had to leave the game. Obviously, it is in my mind."

Montreal general manager Pierre Gauthier gave no comment on the ruling.

"The NHL made it's decision and it's not for us to express our opinion publicly," he said in a statement.

The ruling followed a telephone hearing with Chara earlier in the day.

Murphy was adjudicating the matter because league disciplinarian Colin Campbell's son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins. 

Pacioretty was trying to get past the 6-9 Chara near centre ice when he was squeezed into the boards by the defenceman. Pacioretty went head-first into the glass partition between the benches with 15.8 seconds left in the second period.

The Canadiens said that Pacioretty remains hospitalized.

"My first concern is for him to get his health back," Montreal coach Jacques Martin told reporters after practice Tuesday in Brossard, Que. "You hope that he can recover and continue his career."