Category Archives: Max Pacioretty

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s….Hockey’s Saviour!

It’s possible that Gary Bettman and his clan won’t be able to fix the woes of the NHL. Brendan Shanahan, Bill Daly, Mike Murphy, Colin Campbell, the owners and the rest of those guys in Armani suits who run things might try but it’ll be tough.

Don Cherry isn’t interested.

Hal Gill or Travis Moen or Ryan White won’t fix Zdeno Chara. He’s too freaking big and strong, with fists like sledgehammers.

Via Rail, Air Canada, and Geoff Molson have given it a shot, probably to no avail, and the cops have better things to do.

Readers weigh in with solutions but it’s still a dead end.

In fact, there’s only one man I can think of who can take care of business. One man who doesn’t fool around, who scares the hell out of me and Jack Schitt and the cat. One man who fights dirty, pulls hair, and kicks people in the nuts. A man who has friends in the big house and who ruins my day on a regular basis.

Time to bring out the heavy artillery.

Put your hands together for –

SuperGaston!

They’re Wondering About It In Australia

Chris Gallagher, an English professor at both Humber and Georgian Colleges in Ontario, has been reading my blog and sent a small essay he has written about the state of hockey. Chris is also part of the team at Informed Bet.com.

Gawd, I’ll bet he’s found grammatical errors in my stuff. Maybe the odd spelling mistake. I break English language laws all the time. Wonder what he thinks about that.

I know what I think. I think I’ll go back to bed.

Anyway, the professor writes the following –

The world of professional sport is a world all its own. It’s a world where
grown men and women make millions of dollars doing what many of us think
of as fun. Who wouldn’t want to make a career out of playing a game? Those
who are lucky enough – and good enough – to be professional athletes have
to recognize that they are privileged.  Doing something that potentially
harms another athlete’s ability to reasonably participate should not be
acceptable. A graver offence, however, is damaging the reputation of the
game you play. One player alone does not ruin a sport, but an accumulation
of thoughtless acts certainly might.
At this point, it’s likely clear that I’m referring to last week’s Zdeno
Chara – Max Pacioretty incident (full disclosure – I’ve been a Habs fan
since birth). As much as I think it’s time for everyone to move on, I also
have a perspective worthy of consideration.
In 2004, I was lucky enough to spend several months working at a
university in Australia. As a Canadian in Australia one of the things I
missed most was the NHL. My only real source for NHL updates was the
Internet. On occasion Australian sports coverage briefly mentioned the NBA
or MLB after running through rugby and cricket results. You can imagine my
surprise when one night the lead sports story was from the NHL.  It was
March 8, 2004 and the story was the Todd Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore.
Tell an Australian that you are Canadian and the first question you’ll get
likely involves hockey.  Following the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, for the
remainder of my stay in Australia, I constantly had to explain that that
wasn’t “real” hockey. It bothered me that such an incident misrepresented
a sport I love. A fellow Canadian once quipped that rugby and Aussie Rules
Football are brutally physical sports, but most Australian’s felt “ice”
hockey was heaps worse.
Imagine my surprise last week when a friend from Australia e-mailed me
about Chara-Pacioretty.  He had seen the play on TV and was curious to
hear my thoughts. Here’s what I told him: that’s not real hockey.  The
problem isn’t Chara, or Bertuzzi or any one single player. The problem is
that the league keeps making itself look bad.

–  Chris Gallagher

On A Winter Afternoon……

I have two excellent links to give you today.

The first was sent to me from a fellow you’ve probably seen in the comments sections of Habs Inside/Out. Ian Cobb is 67 years old, used to look after the Habs’ kids at the Forum in the late 1950’s, has very little education, and only learned to read and write five years ago or so. But make no mistake – this is one smart dude. When chatting with him on the phone I found an extremely intelligent and well-spoken gentleman who not only loves the Canadiens but is a man active with some ex-pros in trying to teach about concussions and spinal injuries. 

Here’s the website Ian forwarded to me. These folks are doing a nice and important thing here – Play It Cool.com

Next up is an excellent story in the Atlantic sent to me from Danno that looks at the fall from grace by the NHL and how it’s time now for the league to pretty well get its shit together. Here’s the piece – Slide Into Big Trouble. Great article.

Cherry Calls Out Air Canada, Via Rail, And Disagrees With Several Million Hockey Fans

Don Cherry, on Coach’s Corner Saturday night, (which you can check out at the bottom of the page), said Air Canada and Via Rail were ridiculous to even think about telling the NHL they’re not happy with what’s going on with injuries, and then called out Canadiens owner Geoff Molson for having the audacity to ask for change.

Cherry said Molson should concentrate on fixing the glass and boards and such at the Bell Centre before he should criticize the NHL.

I’d like to mention one thing. Cherry said in this segment that his friend Sheldon Kannegiessor had come up with the idea to change the stanchion bars from straight up to angled so the impact would be almost non-existent. Well, I’m here to tell you that our friend Danno thought of this as soon as the incident happened.

 Danno said, four days ago……

“What the engineers at the Bell Centre should consider is tapering the glass on a diagonal angle so it rises gradually. That, or alternatively they could curve the glass somehow so it doesn’t just come straight up like it does right now.”

Here’s Don on this edition of Coach’s Corner

Bruin Fans Mumbo Jumbo

Comments from Bruins’ sites compiled and sent to me from Beatnik. Any spelling and grammatical errors are the work of the Boston fans and left unchanged.

“This dumb action falls in line with what I’ve been saying for a few years.. Montreal is the absolute worst hockey town and have the worst fans in all of pro sports.. The hit has been totally blown out of proportion.. The only thing I would like to know si what time does the riot start, i could use some new shoes?”

“Unbelievable how everyone says that when they watch the video in slow motion you can ‘tell that Chara was out to injure him’. Thats such a load of garbage. Chara is not a dirty player – he’s 6’9′ for God sake. He basically has to kneel down to check the guy. If you’re looking for greasy players look no further than Subban.”

“Any other team this isn’t an issue. It’s only because it is the Montreal Canadiens that the Quebecois must make it a matter for the legal system. There is no intent or malice (at least no way to prove it) unlike the Marty McSorely stick swinging or the Todd Bertuzzi blindside sucker punch. The league made a ruling. It is not a criminal matter. Next thing you know Dionne will pull out his skates and write fines for a hook and give jail time for roughing.”

“Once again, Montreal, quebec and the French Country of Canada prove why no one out side of Quebec likes French ppl. This is insane. Keep your Donut Hogs out of the league. it was not a dirty play. Get real, and focus your time and tax money on finding real criminals…. like say all the goones that distroyed dt montreal during the playoff run last year. Montreal.. and Habs fans everywhere…. You’re all a Joke”

“Is there anyone other than Hab fans who feel this should be investigated by the police?”

“I AM from montreal, and used to be a huge habs fan.The weak pathetic cry baby attitude of the city and its fans have turned me off for good.Cry babys with power are now trying to find a way to press charges and what ? hold chara until playoffs are over ? The NHL makes the decisions, you may not agree all the time, but this was clearly something that is within the risks of beign a professional hockey player.REGARDLESS OF INTENT. People get hit into the stanchions all the time, it usually messes people up bad.Players should beware of the dangers on all surfaces of the ice. Long story short, this is hockey, but no one likes to see anyone get severly hurt, especially chara in this case. This city is pathetic.”

“Dear Montreal Fans: Are you proud of this? Are you proud that because one of your players gets hurt, like many around the NHL have, that a criminal investigation has to occur. People who think like that need to be strapped to some skates, put on the ice and have pucks fired at them by Zdeno”

“Only in Quebec… Launch a criminal investigation.. The Federal Gov’t weighin on this.. Unbeleivable.. It is sad this can only go to this magnitude when in Montreal. Crosby been out from a cheap head shot and there was not this much attention to it. This was a hockey play… plain and simple…”

“ohhhhh if only people would throw this much of a stink and expelled this much energy and passion when the government did something stupid…”

“I just wonder that if Pacioretty was a Bruin and not a Hab, would have this generated interest from ‘bodies’ of all types?”

“what are you all talking about, its unfortunate but chara was finishing his check. legally. that was a hockey play. max pacioretty isnt even that good”

“Pacioretty made the fatal mistake of putting himself between the boards and Chara. He didn’t have to take that path. It’s the risk he took and he paid for it dearly. What did he expect Chara to do? Hug and kiss him? The last place you want to be caught in is between the boards and Chara. I’ve seen lots of players avoid being caught in that situation against Chara because they know the consequences. The NHL is a contact hockey league where assumed risk is part of the game. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

“And after tax payers dollars are wasted the police will arrive at the same conclusion as the NHL. Nobody knows whether intent to injure was present except Chara. All I know is if that hit took play anywhere else on the ice it would be ‘a guy finishing his check’ end of story”

“hey, maybe this should be a worker’s comp case and patch should sue the canadians or the owners of the arena for not providing a safe work environment??”

“I say the polititians should stick to doing what they do best(screwing up the country) and stay out of the NHL policies this includes having the police come in.”

“First off, of coarse the Que provincial government would use this as a political device. That’s just a joke… criminal investigation? HA! Come on! Only in Quebec! Second, Air Canada has no right (in law) to withdraw sponsorship unilaterally from its contractual obligations. Lets read between the lines on that one shall we? ‘We, at Air Canada, feel this play was a malicious attempt to injure another human being and we will not have our brand associated with the condoning of such acts.’ AKA ‘We, at Air Canada, have blown another pile of money we don’t have, can’t really afford to carry on with our sponsorship contract and our lawyers think this event might let us wriggle our way out of it.’ OR ‘Sweet, chance for free advertising with a positive spin.’ This is not news in substance, but only some politicians and a company taking advantage of a very unfortunate incident. Sickening really that they would act to try and take benefits from Max’s injury. BTW – speedy recovery and all the best, from a Habs hater.”

 

Max Released From Hospital

Max has apparently been released from hospital as reported in Habs Inside/Out, and shouldn’t this photo, which has been making the rounds (and sent from Mike W. and much appreciated), be the final word on whether the gorilla intended to do this deed or not?  

Police are investigating and the Black Day continues.

And this, a letter from Geoff Molson:

Letter from Geoff Molson to Canadiens fans

Thursday, 10.03.2011
Montreal Canadiens
Dear Fans,

I would like to thank you all for your comments and support as the Pacioretty family, and our entire organization, deal with this difficult situation. I share your frustration, disappointment and shock.  I feel for Max, the team and you, our fans.

Max, on behalf of my family, fans and all who are associated with this great organization, rest assured that we are all behind you and hope for a full recovery.

The Montreal Canadiens is an institution that has played a leadership role in this League and in our community for over 100 years, and you can count on us to continue to do so in the future. The news of the NHL decision yesterday was a hard blow for both the players and fans of the Montreal Canadiens. It was one which shook the faith that we, as a community, have in this sport that we hold in such high regard. 

The Montreal Canadiens organization does not agree with the decision taken yesterday by the National Hockey League. We can assure you that we have made our position clear to Commissioner Gary Bettman, and that he has agreed to make this issue a priority at the next General Manager’s meeting, which will be held in Florida on March 14-16.  Pierre Gauthier, our General Manager, will be present at this meeting and has already expressed his wish to carry out, clearly, our message to his 29 counterparts and to the League.

Our organization believes that the players’ safety in hockey has become a major concern, and that this situation has reached a point of urgency. At risk are some of the greatest professional athletes in the world, our fan base and the health of our sport at all levels. Players’ safety in hockey must become the ultimate priority and the situation must be addressed immediately. As a proud father of three hockey players, I want to help create a healthy and safe experience for them, and I certainly never want any family to go through what the Pacioretty’s are experiencing at this moment.

We understand and appreciate hockey being a physical sport, but we do not accept any violent behavior that will put the players’ health and safety at risk. On this specific issue, I am asking for the support of the 29 other NHL owners, to address urgently this safety issue. And I am willing to play a leadership role in coordinating this group effort.

You are the best fans in the league, and I am proud to have you behind us. Both the team and Max need your support now more than ever.  A solid playoff run is just around the corner and we are counting on you to carry us deep into the spring!

GO HABS GO!

Geoff Molson
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Team Owner

Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts

Fellow blogger Yves (Yves on Habs) has turned me on to this turn of events. Air Canada, one of the league’s biggest and most important sponsors, is threatening to pull out entirely from their relationship with the NHL following the non-action regarding headshots etc. as witnessed Tuesday when Zdena Chara mugged Max Pacioretty, almost killing him in the process, and then walking away scot free. 

The article involving Air Canada can be seen right here, from the Toronto Sun.

Thoughts About A Dark Night

A 6’9″ locomotive smashes a player into a partition with the puck nowhere near, a blatant infraction, and the player goes down, out cold, with doctors and trainers scrambling to hold his head steady as he’s strapped onto a stretcher. The locomotive gets thrown out of the game, and it’s discovered that the receiver of the attack has suffered a fractured vertebra in the neck and a severe concussion.

If no names had come about and you were simply told of this occurrence, wouldn’t you think the 6’9″ locomotive might receive at least some kind of discipline because of his brutal actions?

Well, the rub is this. Big Zdeno Charo will play the next game, and the game after that, while Max Pacioretty lays in a Montreal hospital bed after almost dying and with the possibility that his playing days are in the distant future only if he’s lucky.

What did Pacioretty’s coach, Jacques Martin, say about all this?  

“It is not our role to accuse. There was an incident that occurred and there have been other incidences. The league has to look at all those incidents that have had serious repercussions to certain players and I think at some point address it.”

Have we ever seen a less demonstrative coach in the NHL? Think of others, and go back as far as you want. Think of what Toe Blake would have said, and Scotty Bowman, and John Tortorella, and even Bruins’ coach Claude Julien. Any coach, even those with cool and calm demeanors, would have been furious, outraged, with fire in their eyes and expletives spewing from their mouths. Only Martin would come up with a calm, monotone answer such as “I think at some point address it.”

Mike Murphy, doing the disciplinary duties for Colin Campbell because Campbell has a son on the Bruins, didn’t feel Chara did anything worthy of a suspension. Then why is Max in a hospital bed, assaulted, when the puck was thirty or forty feet from him, and why was Chara even thrown out in the first place if the play was so innocent?

Chara was upset by the push Max gave him after Max scored the Habs winner previously? Wow. For those who haven’t seen it, Max fired it home and Chara, just in front of him, was pushed ever so slightly out of the way. Chara was supposed to apply payback for such an evil wrongdoing? Everytime I see a clip of this I ask myself what was so wrong with this little push. What a ridiculous thing for someone to get his shorts in a knot about.

Did Chara bide his time and finally pay back for such small thing in the first place? Did Chara, with his size, almost kill Max because Max gave him a little push that would barely move a small child?

It’s insane. Everything about this entire mess. TSN’s Bob McKenzie and all the rest of people out there who think there was no justification for a suspension have it wrong. A player the size of this Bruin must be responsible for damage done. Especially when the puck was nowhere near.

Thank God Max is alive and not paralyzed. And if one of these worse situations had actually happened, would Mike Murphy still allow Chara to continue playing the next game? Because what’s the difference between what happened and what could have happened?