Perhaps closure is finally coming soon for both Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty. The Montreal Police Department has completed their investigation into Chara’s hit on Pacioretty that broke his vertebra and gave him a season-ending concussion back in March.
With the police investigation completed, it’s now up the Canadian authorities to decide whether or not there’s enough there to charge Chara with a crime for the on-ice play. Doing such a thing is extremely rare and in the case between these two with how the hit played out, they’d have to figure out if Chara had the intent to injure Pacioretty and that he acted in malice towards him to put his health at risk for the hit.
Good luck figuring that out. Chara didn’t speak with Montreal authorities until after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, so the investigation couldn’t press on faster than this. Chara spoke to police last month and while Pacioretty was upset that Chara wasn’t suspended for the hit, he in no way endorsed police action in the situation.
The sooner this can be settled out and everyone can just move along with their lives the better. The fact that this freakish but ugly scenario made it this far to get the police involved is embarrassing on its own. It’s understandable that Habs fans would be upset about seeing their players seriously injured at the hands of a rival opponent, but this isn’t as if Chara did this on purpose. The rules and how they’re handled on the ice are different from real life for a reason. After all, if the police got involved any time something went afoul on the ice, everyone would get investigated for something during their career.
Here’s to hoping the Canadian authorities close the book and tell everyone to go get ready for the new season.
Last season when the Canadiens stormed their way through the playoffs and upset both the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, some Habs fans got a little bit too excited. By that we mean they took to the streets and started burning police cars and causing a grand spectacle of how not to celebrate a playoff win the right way.
With the Habs playing Game 7 tonight in Boston and the fans in Montreal set to be out and about at any of their favorite watering holes to watch the game and either celebrating their team’s win or drowning their sorrows in the finest Quebec beers, the Montreal Police Department isn’t taking anything lightly and are preparing for anything to happen tonight.
Sportsnet in Canada has the update on how the Montreal PD is closing down parts of downtown Montreal just in case things get out of hand.
A one-kilometre stretch of busy Ste-Catherine Street will be closed to traffic starting at 8 p.m. and a “festive zone” will be set up for fans adjacent to the Bell Centre.
Chief Insp. Sylvain Lemay said police are ready, regardless of the outcome of the game.
“The police won’t tolerate any mischief or indiscipline from people or fans wanting to celebrate downtown,” Lemay said.
Closing down part of Ste. Catherine Street is a good way to try and curtail any sorts of shenanigans. Just where are young gentlemen with no interest in hockey going to find their entertainment tonight though? I mean… What?
After what broke loose last year it’s in the city’s interest to be vigilant about keeping the peace downtown as there’s a small subsect of fans that just can’t celebrate the right way. And besides, any good sports fan knows that winning a first round series isn’t worth torching downtown for. Not that any round is worth doing that but things seem to work on a different sort of level in Montreal.
Here’s to hoping that regardless of the outcome the fans don’t help feed into the stereotype of how insane and dangerous fans can be in Montreal during the playoffs.
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.