BOSTON -- One day after saying the Montreal Canadiens "embellished" the extent of Max Pacioretty's injuries, Boston Bruins veteran Mark Recchi clarified his comments following a 7-0 Boston victory over Montreal on Thursday night.
Recchi said he wasn't trying to take a cheap shot at Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and fractured vertebra March 8 when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara delivered a check that sent Pacioretty head-first into a stanchion at Montreal's Bell Centre. Recchi said he was taking one for his teammate Chara in an effort to deflect what the Bruins feel has been unwarranted criticism of their captain.
"Well, I have to be honest with you guys; I wanted to take the heat off Zee [Chara] for a day and I'm a big boy," Recchi told the media after the Bruins' convincing win. "And I think anyone who knows me knows that I have great respect for the Montreal organization; I played five years there. I have great respect for Doctor [David] Mulder, the medical staff there. I had a great five years there. I took the pressure off of Zee.
"In 22 years, I've respected all my teammates, all the players I play against. My record has shown that for 22 years, and I took the pressure off of Zee for one day. I'm a big boy; I can handle it. I have nothing but great things to say about the Montreal organization; I had five great years there. And it's still an unfortunate situation it all happened. We all hope Max gets a full recovery here soon and we know he's well on his way. And like I said, this is something that I believe in 22 years I've been very respectful to players and opponents throughout. So that should be the end of it, really."
Recchi made the critical comments during a radio interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Wednesday.
Recchi said he thought the Habs made more of Pacioretty's head injury -- an area the NHL has been cracking down on this season -- in an effort to get Chara suspended.
"Well, I mean, he does have a fractured vertebra but the concussion was really a nonfactor. Maybe a day he felt it and then he was fine a couple days later, and I believe, yeah, they were trying to get Zdeno suspended and they embellished it a little bit," Recchi said Wednesday on the radio. "I guess in terms of that side, you have to look at it and I guess they were trying to do what they could to get him suspended."
Several Canadiens took issue with his stance before Thursday's game, including former Bruin Hal Gill, who said: "We had a player that was pretty seriously injured. If you're saying anything other than 'I hope he's well and I hope he's getting better,' then I don't have any time for it."
ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy contributed to this report.