Whether it was an accident or not, Zdeno Chara delivered a brutal hit on Max Pacioretty tonight, leaving the Montreal Canadiens forward immobile. Chara checked Pacioretty at the worst possible time, as Pacioretty’s head hit into a part of the boards that separates the two teams’ benches.
He didn’t appear to move after the hit and was taken off the ice on a stretcher, leaving the Montreal crowd to express their anger toward Chara. He was at least able to move his limbs while being taking to an ambulance, according to Francois Gagnon.
It’s hard to look at this moment in a vacuum, as the two teams obviously have a serious distaste for each other. Along with the Bruins’ fight-filled win in their previous bout, one might also recall Chara’s furious reaction after Pacioretty scored an overtime winner against the Bruins earlier this season.
That’s not to say that Chara delivered the hit in an unusually malicious way, but he could very well face a hefty suspension because of this moment. The possibility of a suspension will obviously increase if Pacioretty’s injury is as severe, which wouldn’t be a shock considering the violent collision.
We’ll keep you updated on Pacioretty’s condition, as it looked like the latest in a disturbing line of ugly hits from the last two seasons.
Update: Here’s video of the play. Yes, it’s as ugly as it seems.