Crazy headline? Yep.
But if you believe Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, that’s pretty much what happened. He didn’t push him or anything. He didn’t take a convenient opportunity to rub out a kid he has a bone to pick with. Instead, Chara decided to blame the victim. Said Chara:
…very unfortunate when I pushed him that he leaned & jumped a little bit & just hit the glass extension
Take the red pill, Zee.
Let’s look at some “circumstantial” evidence.
Back on January 8th, Max Pacioretty capped off a comeback victory with an overtime goal. After scoring, he gave Chara what can only be described as a light shove. Should he have done it? No, of course not. You don’t need to poke the bear when it’s wounded. Was it a big deal? It shouldn’t have been, but apparently was.
If you can find it, NESN play-by-play blowhard Jack Edwards seemed to love what was going on. He sounds almost prophetic when he said that “Someone is going to have his head taken off!”, clearly referring to Pacioretty in this instance. Really, Jack…close to the mark aren’t you?
Case closed? Point made? Of course not! It’s the Bruins! Frustration mounts as Boston drops to 0-3 vs the Habs, and 1-8 in the past 2 seasons (do Bruins fans even want to know how badly they’re being owned by the Habs since the lockout, including the B’s sweep 2 years ago?).
Fast forward to February 9th, to what is now known as the “Boston Massacre” or the “Beantown Beatdown”. The Habs weren’t blameless in the entire affair, but after Pouliot and Price showed some leniency on their opponents you’d think that Thornton or Boychuk or Campbell would ease up on less-than-worthy opponents, right? Sadly, no again.
After another month passes, we get to tonight’s game at the Bell Center. This game was talked about since the fiasco last month, and the Canadiens stuck to their credo the entire time. They did not heed to the cries to get bigger and tougher. They did not enlist the services of a goon. They said they would beat the Bruins with speed and skill, and after building a 4-0 lead, it appeared as though they were well on their way.
As has become custom with the Bruins, when they get down, they get dirty. And so Chara rides Pacioretty out and tries to see if he can make him eat a wall of glass at the same time. Or, if you’re of the delusional persuasion, Pacioretty jumped and stuck his face in the way of immovable glass. Is that the way it went Zdeno?
So let’s recap:
- Prior history between the two players? Check.
- Game out of reach for the visitors? Check.
- Prime opportunity to “get even”? Check.
- Organization that loves the rough stuff? Check
- Officials deem it dirty? Major penalty and game misconduct says “Check”.
It’s pretty clear to me that this is premeditated. But, this being a league that dishes out justice from the office of Colin Campbell (who’s son, Gregory plays on the Bruins), it’s possible that nothing will be done. But wait, it gets better. After Pacioretty was taken off on a stretcher, you’d think that both teams would just let the 3rd period melt away without incident.
Class act Milan Lucic decided that he wanted to get a piece of noted tough guy Benoit Pouliot in the 3rd period. He goaded, hooked, and hacked but was ultimately rejected. Throw another log on the fire, genius. What kind of philosophy does a team roll with when they need to continue acting like petulant bullies in the face of defeat? Send a message? What message is that, exactly?
Whatever suspension Chara gets (in my mind 1 to 3 games because Campbell and Murphy are spineless) isn’t enough. The culture of the game continues to allow this type of nonsense to continue, and it somehow continues to blame the victim. For a team that has had its share of bad luck with concussions, you’d think their captain would be first among them to try and curb this type of stuff. Fat chance.
March 24th is the final matchup between the Habs and Bruins (barring a playoff series) this season. I don’t even know if I want to watch, and that’s a shame, for the Bruins have in one night taken a great rivalry, and turned it in to something very nasty and ugly.