Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty has created a firestorm of debate over the past few days. When awful incidents like this occur, it’s normal for all sides to get their emotions wound up. One part of this whole situation that hasn’t gotten worked up is the real world effects that happen when a horribly violent incident occurs on the ice. That’s about to change now, however.
The Montreal Police Department is opening an investigation on Chara’s hit from Tuesday night.
Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. Police added that after evidence is collected it will then be determined if there are grounds for prosecution.
Hearing that the police have gotten involved in this may be just a way for them to cool off the locals in the city who have inundated their switchboards with calls to go after Chara, so much so they’ve asked people to stop calling them about the incident.
We’ve seen authorities get involved in past on-ice incidents. Marty McSorley’s stick-swinging attack on Donald Brashear in 2000, Todd Bertuzzi’s assault of Steve Moore in 2004, and Dino Ciccarelli’s attack on Luke Richardson in 1988 which earned him a night in jail all come to mind.
The difference with those incidents and this one, of course, all lie in the intent. As far as we can tell, Chara didn’t purposefully try to smash Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion that broke his neck and gave him a severe concussion. Of course, even accidental situations where someone is seriously injured can lead to a criminal investigation, this doesn’t appear to be one where any charges will ultimately be filed, however.
The one way this could be made into a more serious situation would be if Pacioretty were to press charges against Chara. Even though Pacioretty is understandably angry about what happened, it seems doubtful we’ll see things be taken that far.