I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, on first glance, the Chara hit didn't really look that dirty. That was, until I saw this photo:
This photo came from Habsinsideout.com.
What it clearly shows is Chara deliberately pushing Pacioretty's head into the pylon.
Chara deserved to be suspended, not for the hit in question, but for the slash he gave Pacioretty earlier in the game. Chara pole-axed Patches' leg, and could have broken it. That alone deserved a suspension. And yet it wasn't enough for Chara.
For those people who claim Chara is not a dirty player, they need to wake up. Chara his a history of dirty play. During a fight with Raitis Ivanans a few years ago, Chara sucker punched him after the linesmen had stepped in, and consequently broke Ivanans' orbital bone.
That's just one example of Chara's history of late hits, sucker punches, dirty stick work, and overall thuggery.
What happened two nights ago was very similar to the Todd Bertuzzi incident. In that Vancouver-Colorado game, Steve Moore had already fought. But that wasn't enough for Bertuzzi. Some people don't know when to stop, and Bertuzzi was out for blood. He got it when he sucker-punched Moore from behind, and drove his head into the ice, breaking his neck.
Chara got his revenge on Pacioretty for that overtime shove in January several times over. Chara slashed him. Chara punched him. And then, he broke his neck.
The real problem here is the NHL lack of commitment to the players' safety, and the overall absence of any decent officiating. The NHL referees have become something of a joke in reecnt years, with most of the old guard retiring. Those old referees, who knew how to keep order and would take control of a situation that would have otherwise spun out of control, have been replaced by morons who have no feel for the game. Back in February the referees stood by and let a Penguins-Islanders get way out of hand.
And now we come to Tuesday's game, where Chara's slash was un-penalized, and the game got out of control.
And it all comes from the top. The NHL is going to sit idly by, and do nothing about violence in the game until someone DIES.
Let me remind the NHL: Max Pacioretty has a broken neck. He's lucky to be alive. And the NHL is sitting on a ticking time bomb.
As for the hit in question, here's my take: by itself, it was a borderline hit. I'm sure Chara didn't MEAN to injure Patches, but on the other hand, he sure as hell didn't CARE.
What is, "Reckless," Alex.
When you consider everything else leading up to that reckless hit, the picture beocmes a lot clearer: the two have a history. Chara had been targeting him ever since that January overtime winner. And each instance of so-called revenge did not extinguish Chara's thirst for payback. It only made him hungry for yet more escalated violence. And so, that forearm shove had a lot behind it. Only Zdeno Chara knows for sure, and he may not even be able or willing to examine his own motivations and what he was thinking in that exact moment. But he has lost the benefit of the doubt.
Let me state this clearly: this is NOT a call for further violence. There is too much eye-for-an-eye in today's world where nations visit death and destruction upon entire civilian populations. But I am afraid for Zdeno Chara. Being suspended may have been the best thing for him. What I fear now is someone taking "justice" upon himself and deciding to end Chara's career.
Again. This is NOT a call for violence upon the Bruins or Zdeno Chara. But the morons in the NHL needs to recognize that when they abdicate any responsibility, the players will sometimes take it upon themselves, with disastrous consequences. And I'm not holding out any hope that we'll see cooler heads prevail. I have no evidence upon which to make that assumption.