BY BARBARA MANINGAT
ANCHOR JESSICA HORD
You're watching multisource sports news analysis from Newsy
“Oh my goodness! Oh my...”
“Even the fans in the stands were stunned Tuesday night when Max Pacioretty’s head hit the glass partition between the benches. Taken out on a stretcher, the Montreal forward is now in-hospital with a broken back and a concussion. He may never play hockey again.” (CTV Toronto)
Ouch. This hit by Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara has the world of hockey tip-toeing on the ice -- with the NHL, Quebec criminal prosecutors and a major sponsor taking action.
The NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Chara will not be fined or suspended for the hit. This prompted Quebec to begin a criminal investigation on the Bruins’ forward. (Video from YouTube)
Chara told the press he had no intention of severely injuring his opponent, but hockey fans can’t help but wonder if he meant to do it. (Video from NESN)
ESPN analysts note the strong rivalry between the teams, but say in the end -- it was just bad timing.
“[P]eople are saying Chara knew that Stanchion was there, we call it the turnbuckle. He did not know it was there. Chara watch it, it takes a second for that hit and for him to hit his head on the turnbuckle.”
But if severe hits like this continue, the league is at risk of losing major financing, and as Air Canada tells Market Watch... (Video from NESN)
“Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspensions to the players in question to curtail these life threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.”
...but a CBS Sports writer says a change in the league’s penalty system’s is going to be hard to enforce.
“In essence, the intent of Rule 48 and the NHL's disciplinary process has been to effect a change in players' attitudes toward each other on the ice, mainly to avoid taking advantage of an opponent who is in a vulnerable position. … Often they go unpenalized, or minimally, as with Chara. It's part of the culture that is a challenge to change."
NHL Players Association President Donald Fehr wants to focus the arena -- not the players. The Boston Herald picked up his idea.
FEHR: “... [I]ssues involving the boards and glass in NHL arenas have been a longstanding focus for the players. The serious nature of the injury suffered by Max Pacioretty (PATCH-EE-OR-ET-EE) in Montreal this week reinforces the importance of maximizing the safety in this area and highlights the need to look further into the matter.”
Fehr says the Players Association will inspect NHL rinks to reinforce padding. One NESN reporter takes a closer look at some over-looked arena hazards -- like the photographer ports in the dividing glass.
“… [W]hy they have these little things is anybody’s guess because a puck going 100 mph or a 200 lb man going 25 mph, this thing’s just going to become a ballistic object and somebody’s going to have a nice souvenir sticking out the side of his head in the front row. … Because of these little, tiny things, in the course of a 1,230 game NHL season, almost every geometric possibility is going to come into play."
So, should hockey hits have harsher penalties? Or, are hard hits just part of the game?
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