WILMINGTON, Mass. — Bruins PR personnel made it clear as soon as availability began today that Zdeno Chara would not answer any questions pertaining to the hit on Max Pacioretty March 8 in Montreal.
With the Canadiens set to land at TD Garden tomorrow for the first Bruins-Habs game since that incident at the Bell Centre, the ranks of the Boston media were swelled by the arrival of their Montreal counterparts. It was established right off the bat that Chara would only talk about tomorrow night’s game.
So I’m going to do something I don’t usually do and provide my readers with a transcript of how the media chat with Chara went today after practice at Ristuccia Arena:
On a possible playoff preview with the Habs
“Obviously, with the standings right now it looks like it could be a match-up. So we’ll see what’s going to happen obviously in the next 10 games. But it’s a good possibility.”
On whether this is a message game or just another game
“I think we all know it’s a big game for both teams. The rivalry’s there, the competition is there. We’re just trying to really focus on our game and establish what we were working on trying to do last game and the previous few games before we were in that slump.”
On if it’s difficult to stop Montreal’s speed
“It is. Obviously they have a lot of speed, a lot of skill up front. They play really good system-wise and they all buy into it. It’s obviously hard to play against a team like that.”
On if he expects retribution from the Canadiens
“I don’t know. Obviously we’ll see.”
On the Bruins controlling their emotions
“You just have to be in control. Obviously it’s part of the game to be emotional and play with a lot of energy and jump. But you just have to keep the emotions bottled up and not [let] the emotions take over the game.”
Chara went on to say that he hasn’t heard back from Pacioretty after reaching out to him, and reiterated that even against the Bruins’ most hated rivals he’s not trying to hurt anyone out on the ice. He knows he’s taken a lot of heat from media and fans in Montreal, but he tries not to think about that.
The bottom line is, this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion by a rabid Montreal fan base that’s just a little too caught up in the Boston-Montreal aspect of this. There’s no doubt, tempers would be calmer had the hit come from a player for Nashville or Florida. This was all an accident caused as much by poor rink structure and safety measures as by Chara’s natural brute strength. To look at it any other way is to really miss the point.