LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Chris Kelly managed to skate 21 shifts for 14:35 of total ice time in the Bruins’ 4-2 victory in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Montreal Monday night.
However, that doesn’t mean Canadiens center Scott Gomez’s hit from behind on the Boston forward wasn’t a dangerous play.
“Well, he got a penalty for interference,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said today at the USA Rink at the Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center on his team’s day off. “I would say, to be honest with you, it’s a little bit of the Zdeno Chara hit on [Max] Pacioretty. [That’s] a hit that turned out badly. I think in Kelly’s case, it was interference, but I don’t think he meant to push him in the net or go head-first into the post.
“You’ve got to understand that there are parts of the game that the result of what happens is not necessarily the intention. So was it a penalty? Absolutely. I don’t think there was any intent to injure there. Thankfully, our player came out of it OK. It’s not something you like to see, and thank God he had a visor, which certainly helped take the blow away a little bit. Still, it was a very dangerous play.”
Chara’s hit on Pacioretty March 8 caused the Habs forward to suffer a fractured vertebrae and severe concussion. Kelly came out of the Gomez play a little shaken and sporting a shiner.
“I’ve played against Gomez for a lot of years and for the most part he’s a good, honest player, so I don’t think it was intentional,” Kelly told the Boston Herald after the game.
There have been so many controversial hits in the NHL, including in the playoffs. And that’s Julien’s main point. Had Kelly been seriously injured, or had Johnny Boychuk been incapacitated by Benoit Pouliot’s hit (he was called for charging late in the first period), there would’ve been more scrutiny of the plays the way there was with Chara’s hit and numerous ones by other players in the postseason.
Instead the league reviewed the Pouliot hit and so far found no reason for supplemental discipline. And there’s been hardly any talk about the Gomez play.