The NHL has major consistency issues. I think we all know that. The fact Matt Cooke and Mike Richards skate freely while Trevor Gillies is suspended says it all. Gillies hit was terrible, and warranted suspension. But was it worse than Richards or Cooke's hit?
Now we get to last night. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens played their first game since the infamous match up a few weeks before. There were a lot of fights, a lot of goals, and no one got hurt. The Bruins played a similar game vs the Dallas Stars a few days before.
In that Stars game, Daniel Paille got suspended four games for his hit on Raymond Sawada. It was the right call. A few weeks later, the Gillies suspension. The NHL seemed to be getting their stuff together, finally. Then Colin Campbell was at the Bell Centre last night.
And while the previous game between Montreal and Boston ended with no major injury, this was the right call. Unfortunately, this game ended differently. Max Pacioretty suffered a broken vertebrae and a severe concussion. it was also one of the fastest anyone has ever seen a stretcher come out. The referees ended the period 15 seconds early.
All because of an interference call. Zdeno Chara hit him into the boards between the bench, face first. And the part where I have an issue is that the puck had left Pacioretty's stick almost two seconds before hand.
That was the real mistake by Chara, not as much the hit. The reason it was dirty was because the play was over. Zdeno Chara is not a dirty player. But that play caused unnecessary harm to a player. And the league had a real chance to punish a star and send a message.
Well they failed at that. Yet again. Their first mistake came with the Todd Bertuzzi incident, years ago. They let him back into the league. They let Cooke and Richards and Scott Stevens get away with their hits. And now these hits continue.
Evidence proves that concussions come from when you are not expecting contact. Some of these hits have as much force as a regular hit. Here is the difference; They were blindside hits. The human brain cannot brace themselves, resulting in concussions.
This is made evident in woman's hockey, where there is no body checking. Yet they have double the concussions of men's college hockey (credit: SBNation.com)
How does this have to do with the Chara hit? it shows the league's consistency. I would have been fine with a Chara suspension, and I normally wouldn't have a big issue with him not being suspended. But the league has to show that this issue is one they want to stop. And they have proved yet again they really don't care.