Have to keep the powder dry for the Puckcast we’re recording later this morning, but here are a few thoughts:
The NHL is not the WWE.
Players do not attempt to bang other players’ heads off turnbuckles. If Zdeno Chara is called to a disciplinary hearing, you have to think intent will figure into the deliberations.
When I got home from the Bell Centre last night, I watched the hit on YouTube. And while Pierre Houde immediately labelled it as “absolument vicieux”, I agree with Arpon Basu: it’s impossible to establish what Chara’s intent was.
Bob McKenzie has a similar take, although Canadiens fans who saw Max Pacioretty unconscious on the ice may find the TSN maven’s analysis a bit cold.
In his commentary during the clip, Benoit Brunet stresses that Chara is not a dirty hockey player. And in remarks after the game, Mike Cammalleri talked about the necessity of knowing, at all times, exactly where you are on the ice.
No, I’m not blaming the victim. Having dumped the puck up the boards, Max Pacioretty was allowed to pursue it without being run off by the league’s strongest player.
And the pair have a history.
Remember when Pacioretty shoved Chara after that game-winning overtime goal? The way Lurch has behaved since, one could surmise OT shoves are little different from questioning the morals of a Slovakian’s mother.
So I wouldn’t want to be Mike Murphy, who probably will adjudicate this because Colin Campbell’s son plays for the Bruins.
Ron Reusch, who has watched many more hockey games than I, said the ice surface has to be made bigger. Players are just too fast, too strong.
One pressbox wag suggested getting rid of that unglassed area between the benches “and if it means Joël Bouchard has nowhere to work, that’s an added benefit.”
There was a lot to like about the rest of the game.
The Canadiens played their game: five red jerseys in the vicinity of the puck in all three zones. Carey Price was customarily superb, as were his shot-blocking teammates.
Lars Eller gets better in every game. Funny, you don’t hear much anymore about how Jacques Martin has ruined Eller and P.K. Subban.
Playing Paul Mara and Ryan White helped cool the more savage instincts of the Bruins, especially after White laid a pretty good thumping on Johnny Boychuk early in the action.
Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton tried to start stuff in the dying seconds of a 4-1 game, which is typical Claude Julien BS. But the Pacioretty injury had a sobering effect on the proceedings and ensured that the third period did not become a total goon show.
The Bell Centre became a tomb after the Pacioretty injury, and that influenced the game. Having basically won it in 40 minutes, the Canadiens sleepwalked through the early part of the third period, but Boston couldn’t take advantage of it.
I thought the Bruins would play better. On paper, they’re a powerhouse. And they played that way through their recent 6-0 road trip.
But the Canadiens have their number. The guys in red jerseys were too fast for the lumbering visitors, and it is ever thus.
On Saturday, we saw that it might not be a bad deal for the Canadiens to meet Tampa Bay in the playoffs.
And on the evidence of last night’s game, you can add Boston to the list of desirable match-ups.
Tune the Puckcast later today for more.