Tag:Zdeno Chara
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:06 pm

Montreal's Max Pacioretty gets two-year extension

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty agreed to a two-year contract extension as the club said it’s confident he can recover from a concussion and neck injury that ended his season in March.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Max Pacioretty who is one of the most promising young players in our organization," Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier said in a statement. "A power forward with skills, Max showed that he can help our team and make a name for himself in the NHL. We are confident that he will have recovered fully from the injury that kept him out of the line-up for the last month of the regular season and the playoffs.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although The Montreal Gazette reports the deal is worth a total of $3.25 million.

Pacioretty suffered a non-displaced fracture of his neck and a severe concussion after a collision with Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara on March 8. Chara, who was ejected for interference but not suspended, checked Pacioretty, whose head hit violently off a divider.

Pacioretty had 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games last season, including two game-winning goals.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 2, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 7:13 pm

Bruins need to revisit Chara's power-play role

A while back, Boston coach Claude Julien decided to take a new approach to solving his team's power-play woes. The plan seemed to make sense: Take the biggest player in hockey, Zdeno Chara, and park him right in the crease. Who better to screen the goalie than the 6'9 (off skates) defenseman?

Well, it's not working. A.J. Perez documented how ineffective the Bruins' power play has been this postseason and how it wasn't any better in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, so it's time to go back to the drawing board. Not every idea is a winner.

Just listen to Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo comparing the tactic to what he faced in year's past with Dustin Byfuglien while with the Blackhawks:

"It's not the same. Obviously Zdeno is a bit bigger," Luongo said after Game 1. "On the first power play it was a bit tough to find the puck. But once they got another one, I was able to make a few adjustments, able to see the puck better.

"I think he's a big body, but at the same time we decided that it's best if we just leave him alone and let me take care of him."

Kind of defeats the point of the man advantage, now doesn't it? If Luongo is able to handle Chara on his own, then we are talking about a five-on-five situation as Luongo gets to act as a defenseman in addition to a goalie.

Now, it's certainly possible that Luongo is saying this now to try and nip it in the bud because he really is bothered by Chara. But even if he is, it still stands that it hasn't led to more success for the B's.

"When they're on the power play, yeah, they don't have that great a percentage, but they're a very good power play and they get a lot of chances," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said. "Lou had to make some pretty good saves. After the first couple power plays, we kind of figured out what they were trying to do."

What better reason than that for Boston to try something different?

Quite frankly, Chara's best attribute is his slapshot. With as devastating as it can be, he should be sitting at the point with the man advantage, not right in front of the goalie. Making deflections is not his strength. And if he's not screening the goalie to the extent of being a true hindrance, then what's the point?

"I mean, typically I like to look over the guy's shoulder," Luongo said. "In this case it's going to be impossible to do that obviously. I have to change that a little bit.

"I thought as we moved along in the game, we made some good adjustments as far as making sure that the shots come from the side and not from the middle so I can see better."

Setting up shop in the crease is a learned skill, so throwing Chara in that role hoping things will click isn't likely to happen. It has to be back to the drawing board.

"I think our power play was better tonight than it had been in a while," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Game 1. "We spent a lot of time [in Vancouver's zone], we had some shots, had some opportunities [and] had some chances. We didn't score. Obviously, when your power play isn't doing well, people are going to criticize because you didn't score."

You could say that.

Boston needs to try and space out the offense more, hopefully creating holes in the Canucks' defense with good puck movement in an attempt to open passing lanes. If the B's want to continue to employ the strategy of putting a man in the crease, then they might want to look at somebody else on the roster. It isn't necessary to abandon the idea, just the execution.

However Julien seems to have no such designs.

"They were pretty hard on him yesterday at times. He just got back upand did his job. I anticipate he'll only get better at that position as we use him there," Julien said Thursday.

I understand the previous attack method wasn't working much better for Boston -- it was a season-long struggle with a man up -- but the Bruins were able to find some occasional success. Not in Game 1. They were 0 for 6 that included four minutes straight in the first period as well as a 5 on 3 later.

Chara had eight goals and seven assists on the power play this season. Boston would be better off putting him back at the point and moving the puck more to the center of the ice and teeing off from back there. Nobody in the game has a better slapper, so it's time to let it fly.

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Chara won't face questions from Montreal police

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will not have to worry about talking to the police when the team’s first-round series shifts to Montreal. 

Boston GM Peter Chiarelli told reporters on a conference call that he’s been assured there won’t be any “Montreal investigation” distractions, according to CSN New Englands’s  Joe Haggerty. It’s unclear where exactly the investigation launched in the aftermath of Chara’s check of Habs forward Max Pacioretty stands. 

The March 8 collision sent Pacioretty off a divider between the benches at the Bell Centre, resulting in a broken bone in Pacioretty 's neck and a concussion. Pacioretty was stretchered off, although he has returned to some light skating in recent days. It's unlikely Pacioretty will make it back for the playoff. 

Chara was given a major interference penalty and a game misconduct, but was not suspended by the NHL. That caused an immediate uproar in Montreal and the police began a probe to see if Chara committed any crimes with his check. 

Game 3 of the series next Monday will mark the first time the Bruins have played in Montreal since the incident. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 5, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 3:50 pm

Ryan Callahan has broken ankle, out indefinitely

New York Ranges forward Ryan Callahan is out  indefinitely with a broken right ankle, an injury sustained when he got in front of a shot by  Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in the third period of Monday's game.

"It's long-term," Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters on Tuesday. 

Callahan is the Rangers' second-leading scorer this season with 23 goals and 25 assists. He missed 19 games this season with a broken hand after blocking a shot against the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Rangers have yet to clinch a playoff spot, but their 5-3 victory over Boston on Monday did make them a little more secure. They are in seventh place entering play Tuesday, four points ahead of ninth-place Carolina. 

Matt Gilroy will move from defense up to win to fill in for Callahan in the interim, according to The New York Daily News. The team also announced that it was sending defenseman Kris Newbury back to the AHL. 

Meanwhile, winger Chris Drury continues his rehab from February knee surgery, although there's no clear indication when he might be able ot return to the lineup. 

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images

Posted on: April 1, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 3:52 pm

Pacioretty skates briefly before Habs practice

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, injured in a gruesome collision with a padded stanchion on March 8, skated for about 20 minutes before his club’s practice on Friday. 

Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a broken vertabra in his neck in the collision, the result of a check from Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. Chara not suspended for his role in the incident, a decision that didn’t sit well with Habs fans, and prompted politicians and sponsors to question the NHL's approach to head injuries.

Montreal coach Jacques Martin told reporters afterward that the short session at the team’s training facility in  Brossard, Quebec, was the start of his rehab, The Canadian Press reports . Pacioretty’s agent, Alex Schall, said earlier this week that it’s unlikely Pacioretty will return this season. 

Here’s a clip of Pacioretty’s return to the ice:
Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:09 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 11:53 am

Morning Skate: Fireworks lacking in Beantown

The sequel is never as good as the original. In the case of the Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens, the last one wasn't that good either.

Thursday's “rematch” between the Canadiens and Bruins again wasn’t competitive, not that many remember Montreal eased to a three-goal win on March 8. No, that game was all about Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's check that sent Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty off a padded divider between the benches. The collision left Pacioretty with a broken bone in his neck, a concussion and a good portion of Quebec in an uproar.

It was payback time Thursday, right? Not quite. Chara, who was not suspended for the collision with Pacioretty, was the games No. 1 star with three assists as the Bruins extended their Northeast Division lead with a 7-0 victory. On a night that featured three shootouts in games that will help determine the postseason order, what transpired at TD Garden wasn't nearly as compelling. 

There were a couple roughing penalties and Montreal’s Paul Mara and Boston’s Gregory Campbell were sent to the box for fighting, but those things happen in just about any blowout.

"We just went out there, we were focused on doing it right," Bruins coach Claude Julien told CSN New England. "And for us, it's a win that we needed, for all the right reasons, standings and everything else. I think our guys felt good about our performance tonight, and rightfully so."
Line Changes

Even as police in Montreal investigate whether Chara violated any laws with his check a couple weeks ago, Boston authorities won’t be involved this time --- unless somebody wants to file a missing team report. The Bruins dominated in every facet, including nearly doubling up the Habs with 41 shots on net. Boston goalie Tim Thomas, one of the leading candidates for the Vezina Trophy, made 24 saves for his eighth shutout of the season. 

There was a confession after the game, but nobody was Mirandized. 

Veteran Bruins forward Mark Recchi told The Boston Globe he intentionally tried to take the heat off Chara when he told  a sports talk station that Montreal embellished the severity of Pacioretty’s injuries, comments that drew strong rebuke from the Habs’ locker room earlier Thursday. 

"Well, I have to be honest with you guys, I wanted to take the heat off Zee for a day,'' Recchi told reporters afterward. "I'm a big boy. And I think anyone who knows me, knows that I have great respect for the Montreal organization. I played five years there. I have great respect for Doctor [David] Mulder, the medical staff there.

"I had five great years there,'' Recchi said of his time in Montreal. "I took the pressure off Zee. In 22 years, I've respected all my teammates, all the players I play against. My record has shown that. For 22 years. I just took the pressure off Zee for one day, I'm a big boy, I can handle that.''

Chara told The Globe he appreciated the gesture: 

"I obviously don't know exactly all the comments,'' Chara said of the remarks Recchi made on 98.5 The Sports Hub. ``But he's such a great teammate and such a respected guy and leader. It's a thrill to have him. We all learned so much from him. He's obviously the next Hall-of-Famer and such a classy guy. Like I said, I can't thank him enough to be my teammate and be part of this team, and helping all of us to be better.''

HILLER PULLED IN RETURN: Jonas Hiller, who hadn’t played a game since Feb. 13 as he was sidelined with vertigo, lasted only 11 minutes, 39 seconds into Thursday’s game in Nashville. He allowed three goals on nine shots before Dan Ellis was tapped to enter the game. Ellis actually took the loss in the Preds’ 5-4 victory. 

"I didn't think he saw the puck," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register. "I understand his first game back, it's not easy to pull him. In my mind, you don't do that against him. You do it for the rest of the team. That's what I always say."

Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1 (SO)
Ottawa 2, NY Rangers 1 (SO)
Atlanta 2, NY Islanders 1
Boston 7, Montreal 0
Nashville 5, Anaheim 4
St. Louis 4, Edmonton 0
Toronto 4, Colorado 3   Phoenix 3, Columbus 0 
Los Angeles 4, San Jose 3 (SO)

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 4:52 pm

Playoff Watch: Bruins, Habs set for rematch

WHO CAN CLINCH: No new teams can clinch tonight. 

ALREADY IN: The Vancouver Canuck, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Montreal Canadiens (40-27-7) at Boston Bruins (40-22-10), 7 pm ET

This game would certainly have importance even if Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s check didn’t leave Montreal Canadeins forward Max Pacioretty with a broken bone in his neck and a severe concussion the last time these two teams met. The Bruins lead the Northeast by three points over the Habs, who are 4-1-0 against Boston this season. 

The reaction (overreaction?) by Montreal fans after Chara was ejected -- but not suspended -- over the incident on March 8 has quieted some since it became known that Pacioretty could make it back for the playoffs. Then Boston forward Mark Recchi goes on a sports talk radio station this week and says the Canadiens “embellished it a little bit.”

Still, there’s not likely to be the revenge-filled fracas that was the Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game on Feb. 11, which resulted in 23 games worth of suspensions. NHL commissioners Gary Bettman already warned Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier against such an incident happening tonight, TSN.ca reports. 

“Everybody talks about revenge and what’s going to happen – and the build-up,” said Milan Lucic told CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. “I’m sure they’re saying the most important thing for them is getting the two points, and I’m sure for them the most important is getting the two points because they’re right behind us in the standings.”

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Anaheim Ducks (41-27-5) at Nashville Predators (39-25-10), 8 p.m. ET

This game could mark the return of Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who missed 15 consecutive games and 17 games total with vertigo. He was activated Wednesday and backed up Ray Emery in the Ducks’ 4-3 OT victory over Dallas. Hiller was a contender for the Vezina Trophy before his bout with dizziness forced him onto the IR. The Preds will counter with Pekka Rinne, whose goals-against average (2.07) is second only to Boston’s Tim Thomas this season. 

GOLF WATCH: The Ottawa Senators will need a victory to avoid elimination. The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers are already mathematically eliminated. 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:24 am

Morning Skate: Pacioretty returns to Bell Centre

Max Pacioretty walked into the same arena he left stretchered out on exactly seven days ago. 

For his Montreal Canadiens teammates -- many seated feet from where his head bound off the turnbuckle after a check from Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara -- it was a welcome sight. His visit to Bell Centre was brief and included a chat with the team doctor before he returned home to watch the game, a contest the Habs dropped, 4-2, as the Washington Capitals won their ninth game in a row.

"The fracture in his neck has to heal but he doesn't have concussion symptoms and that's the key part," said defenseman James Wisniewski told The Canadian Press. "We've seen guys miss a significant part of time this year with headaches and stuff like that so for him to get out here and come to a game it's important and really meant a lot." 

While Pacioretty appears to be ahead of schedule as he recovers from a severe concussion and a broken bone in his neck, the league’s general managers met for a second day in Florida to discuss head injuries among other topics. 

There wasn't a consensus on recommending a “zero-tolerance” rule for all head shots, not that the Pacioretty-Chara fit into that category anyway. That hit was one of growing number of concussions as result of coming into contact with the boards -- and it appears boarding and charging will be monitored more closely going forward. 

Line Changes

“There were a number of instances of boarding and charging, which while legal under the current rules, may be the types of hits that we can take out of the game (and) keep the fundamental physicality of the game,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Tuesday.

The league, however, didn't say Chara was even guilty of boarding either. It remains just what the referee at the time called it: a five-minute major for interference and game misconduct. That’s it. 
“As I've said, we have (general) managers that have played in the '60s and '70s and managers who have come off the ice recently,” NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said. “We have got a pretty good feel on that hit, and the direction and the feedback we . . . (got was there was) nothing we thought was wrong in the hit.”

Bettman added: “When we polled the managers, overwhelmingly they thought it was a hockey play and a bad, unfortunate, horrific accident”

But the padded stanchion Pacioretty's head hit, however, may be reexamined. 

“We feel that some of the things we are going to look at, the playing surface, the boards, the extensions, are things that we have to do,” Bettman said. “But the actions of the player involved there, we didn't feel there was anything wrong after we reviewed everything today.”

That probably did little to placate the Montreal fans still miffed that Chara skated, even if The Montreal Gazette reported the Facebook-inspired rally was largely a bust a bust.

New Jersey 4, Atlanta 2
Washington 4, Montreal 2
Boston 3, Columbus 2 (SO)
NY Rangers 6, NY Islanders 3
Carolina 1, Buffalo 0
Philadelphia 3, Florida 2
Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 1
Los Angeles 4, Nashville 2
San Jose 6, Dallas 3
Phoenix 4, Calgary 3\

-A.J. Perez
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com