QUEBEC CITY (AP) — A Quebec prosecutor wants police to investigate the on-ice hit by Boston‘s Zdeno Chara that sent Montreal’s Max Pacioretty to the hospital with a fractured vertebra and severe concussion.

Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. Police added that after evidence is collected it will then be determined if there are grounds for prosecution.

Listen: Gresh & Zo Talk Meriweather, Montreal Prosecutor Pushing For Investigation

The NHL said a day earlier it would not suspend Chara for Tuesday night’s hit, when he slammed Pacioretty into a glass partition.

Read: No Fine or Suspension For Chara

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to comment Thursday while on his way to a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. focusing on the state of hockey in America.

There has been strong debate this season over injuries from hits to the head. Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby is among those sidelined with such an injury.

In a related matter, Air Canada has told the NHL it is considering withdrawing its sponsorship unless the league tightens rules to reduce potentially serious injuries.

Dionne filed his request for an investigation after watching television footage of Chara’s hit, his spokeswoman said.

“The police investigation will be held. Like all police investigations, evidence will be gathered and an investigation report will be submitted, spokeswoman Martine Berube said. “(The DCPP) will then evaluate to see whether there’s grounds for prosecution.”

Asked what kind of punishment could be assessed in a case like Chara’s, she replied: “It’s too early to say. That would depend on what charges are laid. That’s a little difficult to predict at this point.”

Pacioretty, a left wing from Connecticut, is a regular top-line player for Montreal. With he and Chara racing for the puck near the player benches, Chara checked Pacioretty into the boards, sending him slamming into a stanchion supporting the glass.

The hit drew criticism from Gary Lunn, the minister of state for sports, and others outside the league. Lunn called it unacceptable.

But the league deemed it “a hockey play that resulted in an injury because of the player colliding with the stanchion and then the ice surface.”

Chara, who said he had no intent to hurt Pacioretty, was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct on the play. The Bruins’ captain has never been suspended in his 13-year career.

Pacioretty told TSN he was “upset and disgusted” that the league had not suspended Chara.

“I’m not mad for myself, I’m mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it’s OK, they won’t be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt,” he said.

Pacioretty has not forgiven Chara.

“I understand, he’s in the hospital, he has a right to be emotional and I respect that,” Chara said. “I obviously feel bad that he got hurt. As a hockey player, we all feel bad that something like that happened — doesn’t matter if you’re the home team or the visiting team. I’m wishing him a fast recovery and hopefully he can be back on the ice soon and that’s all we love to do. We love to play hockey. Obviously when we go out there, we take risks. And sometimes, we do get hurt. But, it’s just very unfortunate.”

Several legal and former law-enforcement experts expressed doubt a police investigation would result in criminal charges.

“This would be the type of case that would be very tough to prosecute,” former major crimes investigator with Quebec’s provincial police John Galianos said.

He added that the difficulty facing prosecutors would be establishing Chara’s intent to injure.

“I don’t think a Crown attorney would prosecute based on the video,” he said.

Montreal lawyer Steven Slimovitch said: “When you get involved in a sport, there is a concept of acceptance of risk. The question is did Pacioretty agree to be hit in that kind of fashion by Zdeno Chara? Was the hit so outside the norm of what is found in the sport of hockey . . . that it’s not hockey anymore.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (17)
  1. B's Fan says:

    Give me a break Canada is going above and beyond about this and it’s ridiculous! Did you see us trying to have cook arrested when he hit Savard no we were mad about them not suspending him and then we moved on… was not an intentional hit late check yes interference yes intent to hurt another player no enough is enough I understand the seriousness of this injury and I hope he is ok and will get better but this is now getting ridiculous…..

    1. Sportser says:

      well, someone somewhere must do something.
      We also cannot speculate on the intent, because we just don t know what is going on in someone’s head. A bad hit is a bad hit. Everyone should be outrage regardless of the team.
      Here is a pic of the hit. we clearly see Chara’s arm pushing on Pacioretty’s head.
      There is also a close- up of the same photo at the end of the article. also you can click on ‘A GOOD READ’ by Tony Massaroti

      I really hope you see this from another angle.

  2. SCB says:

    to B’s Fan: The idea of the law getting involved in this affair is about the NHL (nutless hockey league) NOT taking care of its players by dishing out a warranted suspension to set a precedent against reckless and ILLEGAL plays that result in injury. This is not just to ‘get’ Chara…

  3. Richard Dauphinais says:

    @SCB. In no way was that an illegal hit. Tell the arena to get rid of the partition that caused the injury. That was a split second thing that happened. Tell the Canadien fans to move on. Chara is not a dirty player. He had no intention of hurting him. Wrong place at the wrong time.

  4. B's Fan says:

    I understand that people feel like the NHL failed like we felt when Cook got away with an obvious DIRTY hit on Savard but we never went to this extent….if it happened to any other team other than Montreal they wouldnt be going this far…..Like i said before I hope he is ok and its very unfortunate but they are taking it to a whole other level now that doesnt need to be taken to.

  5. Daryl Erickson says:

    The fact is that if the league had at least given a token suspension, 1 or 2 games then this firestorm of controversy would be over. Instead the Murphy/Campbell tandem look like the idiot partisans they are and have slapped Montreal in the face. Yes, welcome to the Nutless Hockey League. Phoenix, let the team fold, save some money just go out and get a couple of UFC events, it’s much less expensive.


  6. dana says:

    Come on Habs fan….Really??? A criminal investigation?? Where was the outcry when Max ran Mark Eaton into the boards from behind in December. There was no outcry for a criminal investigation there…Why?? cause it was one of your own. What’s next….a cross check is an assualt with a deadly weapon???

  7. Mike says:

    Yet another reason why I’ll never visit Canada.

    1. B's Fan says:

      I Agree!!!!!

  8. bill says:

    police need to stay out of sports it was determined to be a legal hit. if police think they can get involved how come they haven’t gone after james harrison from the steelers for his illegal hits. whats next boxers and mma fighters for assault or pichers throwing at batters

  9. greendog says:

    criminal? ridiculous! refs won’t stop a throw down with bare fists, 2 guys beating the s**t out of each other(assault) but this warrants a criminial investigation? no way. clean up the game. it’s hockey not UFC on Ice!

  10. Mockery Jones says:

    The NHL should threaten Montreal with disenfranchisement from the league if this comes to anything. What player would ever travel to play in Montreal knowing that if the local fans don’t like a league ruling on a play a player might face felony prosecution?

    1. sportser says:

      I just can’t believe what I’m reading here. No one took a look at the pic posted above.
      The reason for the enquiry is because the police dept. received complaints and they are acting on it. It’s a normal process. Will they be able to charcge Chara?No because they have to prove his intent which is hard to do, but hopefully it’ll open the eyes of the NHL (which I doubt very much)
      Something must be done before someone dies. Don’t you think?

      We didn’t know a few years back about the gravity of commotions now we do so if some rulings are outdated it s time to change them.
      With all the good players out with injuries to the head make place for the thugs and goons and it’ll be URC on ice

  11. hank says:

    It is insane and stupid Chara did nothing wrong and Pac is being hypercritical for his words. He had a major hit from behind on another player and feels that is ok but when he gets hit is wrong then the the fans?

  12. ronny says:

    Chara is a criminel.His(Her,Its) gesture(movement) was planned, he has to answer of his acts in justice. So much q has I he(it) should be banished has life. If ever he(it) returns we l has Montré shall welcome as it is necessary. As a criminal.

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