Max Pacioretty Hit Invites NHL to Wake Up

Matt EichelSenior Writer IMarch 10, 2011

MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 8:  Members of the Montreal Canadiens medical staff tend to Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens on a stretcher after being body checked by Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins (not pictured) during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 8, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

As if the situation was not already boiling the pot over.

Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has confirmed an official investigation into the Chara hit has been launched.

Add to the mixture that Air Canada is ready to pull the plug on any sponsorship, it being one of the largest for the NHL, if they don't clean up their act.

And Gary Bettman's response?

While in Washington addressing the U.S. congressional panel on encouraging kids to play hockey, he called the Pacioretty injury horrific–but went on to claim that it's part of the game.

Bettman went on to say that most head injuries this season were because of falls or accidents.



Pacioretty neither fell nor was in an accident. Chara finished his check and it ended up as a violent action worthy of discipline.

Bettman further reported that the NHL can find other carriers if Air Canada decides to pull out of sponsorship with the NHL.

Is this the proper response from the league commissioner?

Not at all. In fact, it sounds downright arrogant and uniformed.

What Bettman is not willing to do is concede that the NHL has not handled the situations properly and that these situations continue to occur because of the lack of discipline for players committing them.

In the NHL, the punishment is not fitting the crime and the players are well aware of the line that has been drawn.

The envelope has been pushed farther and farther in the past five years.  

A Max Pacioretty injury is not part of the game. A Marc Savard or David Booth injury is not part of the game and will never be part of the game.

The fact that police are becoming involved in this matter because the NHL is not willing or caring to take action shows the outcome that the NHL has lost control.

When will the NHL be able to stand up for the actions of its players?  

Remember when Maurice Richard was suspended the rest of the season and playoffs for punching a ref? Now that was extremely harsh by today's standards.

And still, the NHL continues to turn a blind eye to these injuries and the outcomes that it has on the players who suffer the injuries.

If the NHL wants any honor, validity, and most importantly fans to watch, they need to start cleaning up the act or start cleaning house.