We knew that the decision by the NHL that Zdeno Chara’s March 8 hit on Max Pacioretty was a “hockey play” gone wrong didn’t defuse the Montreal forward’s bitterness toward the Bruins defenseman or the league.
Obviously an apologetic phone call and the passing of time haven’t quelled Pacioretty’s disgust in the months since the hit either.
Pacioretty just re-signed with Montreal as a free agent. In a story about his contract and other Canadiens deals, Pacioretty expressed his bitterness to the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.
The 22-year-old Pacioretty said he was still frustrated that Chara wasn’t suspended for the hit, adding he hopes the NHL will adopt a more consistent policy of policing head shots. He said he turned the TV off after the end of Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final because he didn’t want to see Chara accept the trophy.
At the risk of opening this can of worms again, Chara’s hit on Pacioretty was not a head shot. Pacioretty’s head unfortunately hit the stanchion when he was hit with immense force by the biggest player in the NHL. It was a late hit, penalized by interference. But to compare the hit to the one Aaron Rome threw at Nathan Horton or Mike Richards through at David Booth is mixing apples and oranges.
Nonetheless, I can understand not watching the Cup presentation based on the fact that no player wants to watch another team win. But to still be angry with Chara after the Bruins captain made contact with him via phone to apologize and wish him shows that Pacioretty really needs to turn the page.
As for the injuries he suffered as a result of the hit, Pacioretty is basically 100 percent healthy now. He told Hickey:
“My injury hasn’t limited me in the weight room and I started training earlier than I normally do because of the rehab. If I had come back in the playoffs, the injury might have been in the back of my mind, but now with the time off, it won’t be a problem. I know the kind of game I have to play. I want to be that guy who goes to the net to score goals.”