If a player has the puck and is skating with his head down and gets hit, then that is his fault.
If a player does not have the puck and gets hit, it is not his fault, you do not expect to get hit when you do not have the puck. Pacioretty did not have the puck when he was hit by Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. The puck was forty feet away from him when he was checked into a steel stanchion. Pacioretty, a left-winger from New Canaan, Conn., who had established himself this season as a regular top-line player, suffered a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture to the fourth cervical vertebra in his neck.
The score was 4 to nothing for The Montreal Canadiens at the time of the incident. The last time the teams played there were numerous fights in the game and there was bad blood between the two teams. Pacioretty and Chara had issues as Pacioretty had hid Chara from behind in a previous game.
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, called the injury to Pacioretty “horrific”, but said it’s part of the game. Any time you run a player into the boards or a steel stanchion when the player does not have the puck and is not prepared for a hit or expecting a hit it is a dirty play. This was the case on Tuesday night and the league was irresponsible in not giving Chara a suspension.
The referree called a five minute interference call and a game misconduct on the play. That is the first time I have ever seen that call in my life.