Max Pacioretty has feeling after hit
MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty was taken off the ice strapped to a stretcher and hospitalized after he was slammed headfirst into the glass on a check by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara Tuesday night.
A Canadiens spokesman said Pacioretty was conscious and moving his extremities when he was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. The Boston Globe reported early Wednesday morning that Pacioretty also was able to talk to medical staff at the hospital.
Chara made contact with Pacioretty as the two were chasing the puck alongside the Bruins' bench with 15.8 seconds left in the second period. The hit sent Pacioretty face-first into the stanchion at the end of the bench and he crumpled to the ice.
After he lay motionless for a period of time, Pacioretty was put into a neck brace and immobilized on a stretcher. The referees gave Chara a five-minute major for interference and a 10-minute and game misconduct.
The referees then ended the period with time left on the clock. The Canadiens went on to beat the Bruins 4-1.
Chara briefly spoke to the media after the game. The Bruins' captain expressed concern for Pacioretty but said he wasn't trying to hurt him.
"I'm battling for position and as the puck went by I was riding him out and it's very unfortunate that at the same time I push him a little bit he leaned over and jumped a little bit and just hit the glass extension," Chara said.
"I knew we were somewhere close to our bench but obviously that wasn't my intention to push him to the post," Chara said. "Like I said, it's very unfortunate and in that situation with everything you have to think fast. You're not planning to do that or that's not my style to hurt somebody. I always play hard and play physical but I never try to hurt anybody."
Montreal center Lars Eller suggested Chara knew exactly where he was before the hit.
"Things happen quickly," Eller said. "You make decisions out there. Unfortunately, Chara made a bad one. I think he knew the glass was starting there. Hopefully he won't do that again. We just hope Max will be all right."
Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, who has suffered two documented concussions in his NHL career, called it a "fluky play."
Everybody's aware of what's what out there. I don't care what anybody says, you're aware of your surroundings.” -- Canadiens goalie Carey Price
"He [Chara] just tried to buy himself some time and kind of push him out of the way and his head got caught," said Bergeron, who missed the majority of the 2007-08 season because of a concussion.
Because Chara received a game misconduct, the play will be reviewed by the league. Chara is scheduled to have a noon ET phone hearing with the league, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. There is a chance the Slovakian defender could be suspended or fined; he said he didn't think a suspension was warranted for what he termed an unfortunate accident.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was blunt when asked about the collision.
"All I say was what it looked like. It looked like [Pacioretty] chipped the puck in, took two or three or four strides and got his head pushed into the turnbuckle," Price said.
"Everybody's aware of what's out there. I don't care what anybody says, you're aware of your surroundings. It's your job out there to know what's where. But the game does happen fast. He's a big guy, he's a big physical presence, and he can hurt somebody if somebody's not paying attention. Physical play is part of hockey, as long as it's in the rule book."
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said Pacioretty would remain in the hospital overnight. Martin believed the penalties called against Chara were "adjusted when they saw how serious the injury is."
"The league has to deal with these issues," Martin said. "It's not the first time. It seems to be getting worse and worse. It was a dangerous hit."
Pacioretty has 14 goals and 24 points this season, both career highs. The 22-year-old left winger was Montreal's first-round pick in 2007.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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