BROSSARD, Quebec | Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has a severe concussion and a fractured vertebra from a frightening hit by Boston’s Zdeno Chara that will not draw further discipline from the NHL.
“The most important thing for our organization right now is Max’s recovery. We will continue following recommendations from the doctors and of course, Max and his immediate family would appreciate privacy in this matter,” he added in a statement on the Canadiens‘ website.
The 22-year-old player was chasing the puck along the boards in front of the team benches late in the second period when he was checked hard by Chara. His head slammed into the glass partition between the benches. He lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before he was taken to a hospital, where he spent the night.
“What I remember about it was the sound — it sounded like a gun: bang!” said Pacioretty’s linemate Scott Gomez. “Stuff like that is tough to look at.”
Chara was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct, but NHL vice president Mike Murphy said Wednesday there won’t be a suspension.
“After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline,” Murphy said. “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.
“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.”
But federal minister of sport Gary Lunn called the hit “unacceptable.”
Murphy hears cases involving Boston in place of league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, whose son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins.