Max Pacioretty has serious injuries

Updated: March 10, 2011, 1:29 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a fractured vertebra as a result of a check by Zdeno Chara Tuesday night, but the Boston defenseman will not be fined or suspended.

"I am upset and disgusted that the league didn't think enough of [the hit] to suspend him," Pacioretty said in an interview with TSN on Wednesday. "I not mad for myself, I'm mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it's okay, they won't be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt."

Montreal coach Jacques Martin said Wednesday Pacioretty fractured the fourth cervical vertebra, "but it's not displaced. Max will remain at the hospital for further observation. There will be no other prognosis for the time being, but he will obviously be out indefinitely."

The fourth cervical vertebra is approximately in the middle of the neck.

"The players feel for their teammate," Martin said. "Max is a popular teammate. He is a young player learning the ropes of playing in the National Hockey League and he had some great mentors here."

Because Chara received a game misconduct for the incident, the play was reviewed by the league, but NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy said in a statement that he found "no basis to impose supplemental discipline."

Pacioretty told TSN he thought Chara was intentionally trying to run him into the stanchion.

"I believe he was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle," Pacioretty said to TSN. "We all know where the turnbuckle is. It wasn't a head shot like a lot of head shots we see but I do feel he targeted my head into the turnbuckle."

After practice Wednesday, Chara said he felt bad, but "was trying to make a strong hockey play and play hard."

The league agreed with the Slovakian defender.

Murphy said: "After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline," Murphy said. "This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly -- with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous.

"This was a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface. In reviewing this play, I also took into consideration that Chara has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career."

But federal minister of sport Gary Lunn called the hit "unacceptable."

What I remember about it was the sound -- it sounded like a gun: bang!

-- Scott Gomez

Murphy hears cases involving Boston in place of league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, whose son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins.

"Knowing him [Chara] as I know," Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "there was no intent to injure the player on that play. And as I mentioned [Tuesday], the location of the injury is what caused the damage, and that's the unfortunate part of that."

Chara, he said, "plays hard. At the same time, he plays clean. It's already a challenge for a guy like him, at 6-foot-9, to keep his elbows down because the minute he lifts them up a little bit he's hitting guys in the head."

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, 22, was put into a neck brace, immobilized on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.

"What I remember about it was the sound -- it sounded like a gun: bang!" Pacioretty's linemate Scott Gomez said. "Stuff like that is tough to look at."

Pacioretty's parents were at Bell Centre to watch the game.

"It makes your guts hurt," goalie Carey Price said. "I can't imagine being a parent, watching your kid get hit like that."

At Bruins practice Wednesday, Chara said the incident has been bothering him.

[+] EnlargeMax Pacioretty
Richard Wolowicz/Getty ImagesCanadiens forward Max Pacioretty was hospitalized after a Zdeno Chara hit sent him face-first into the stanchion at the end of Boston's bench.

"It's been hard. Obviously, I feel bad about what happened," Chara said. "I'm trained to make a strong hockey play and play hard. It's unfortunate the player got hurt and had to leave the game. Obviously, it is on my mind."

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.

Pacioretty has 14 goals and 24 points this season, both career highs. The left winger was Montreal's first-round pick in 2007.

"The most important thing for our organization right now is Max's recovery," Martin said. "We will continue following recommendations from the doctors and of course, Max and his immediate family would appreciate privacy in this matter."

Shortly after the NHL announced it wouldn't take further action against Chara, Montreal police were inundated with calls from people seeking to file a criminal complaint against the player. A spokesman said police suspected the calls were inspired by a media outlet that suggested the idea.

The police spokesman described the gesture as "irresponsible" -- and urged Montrealers to keep the emergency line free for actual life-and-death matters. "Someone in the media has been telling people to call the police to complain," Sgt. Ian Lafreniere said. "This shows a serious lack of responsibility."

The teams play each other one more time this season, March 24 in Boston.

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO SEE