Cooper: Chara didn’t sucker-punch Paquette, but Bolts ‘could have responded better’

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More chatter regarding the Zdeno Chara-Cedric Paquette altercation on Tuesday night.

Today, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper threw out some cryptic remarks, shooting down the notion that Chara threw a sucker punch during Boston’s 4-3 win while also suggesting his team didn’t do enough in response to the B’s captain decking Paquette.

“I think we could have responded better,” he said, per the Tribune. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

The incident in question, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

At the final buzzer, Paquette tried to get after Chara again, which led to this postgame chirp from Brad Marchand (courtesy CBS Boston):

“Yeah, I don’t know what that kid was thinking,” Marchand said with a smile. “I mean, you don’t mess with Z. There are some guys where you can push them and they’ll just kind of let it go, but if you’re going to challenge Z, then you’re going to have to deal with the consequences. He took a pretty hard punch there the first time, and I don’t know what he was thinking going back at him.

“He must have forgot that we play them three more times,” Marchand continued. “So hopefully he’ll be sent down by then — for his sake.”

Paquette, a 21-year-old rookie who’s eight inches shorter and 57 pounds lighter than Chara, brushed off Marchand’s remarks — “He can say whatever he wants, I don’t really listen to him,’’ he told the Tribune — and said he’d engage Chara next time too, if the situation called for it.

“I went in front of the net, tried to do my job and he just wouldn’t let me go and that’s my job,’’ Paquette said. “I think he took a couple of penalties on me the last game and if I had to do it again, I would.”

Related: Did Zadorov just call Tampa’s skill guys ‘pretty soft’?