Under NHL rules if your stick makes contact with a player's facial area it's a high-sticking penalty. Regardless of if the player "meant" to do it. You must be in control of your stick at all times. (Imagine that.)
Will someone please tell me why this appears to be the only rule that takes this sort of "you must be aware of your actions regardless of intent"?
Certainly swinging your stick around is dangerous. There's always the danger of contact with eyes, but many times a player gets clipped and it's a few stitches or no injury at all. But it's an automatic penalty.
Somehow a player can be irresponsible with everything except the stick and give a player a concussion that can stick with you forever -- and -- it's all good?
Everyone knows it's not "all good" but that's the message the NHL sent today when it decided not to hand out any further disciplinary action against Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
I've seen a lot of comment about the hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. If you're one of the few people who haven't watched TV or been on the internet in the last 24 hours here it is.
Chara had his head up. The puck was long gone. He was called for interference and booted from the game.
In Mike Murphy's statement about the hit, the excuse is that Chara didn't leave his feet and he didn't "target" Pacioretty's head. In my opinion he absolutely targetted the head. Maybe he didn't put his elbow directly into his head but he certainly pushed Pacioretty into the glass in a way that his head would inevitably make contact with a solid object.
"Oh but he didn't MEAN to do it".
Give me a break. I don't care what you say, Chara saw that glass coming. Besides, I could care less if he meant to do it. There are murderers who stand before a judge and say they didn't "mean" to do it. Too bad buddy, you're still going to jail.Why can't the NHL treat it's players like that.
Max Pacioretty is undoubtedly out for the season with a "severe concussion" and several broken vertebrae. He's lucky he's not paralyzed. The Habs are now without a player who's been putting up excellent numbers for an AHL call-up. That's not justice.
Then there's the fact the NHL is without it's star. Sidney Crosby was on a tear. Perhaps a record-breaking tear. They were without him at the All-Boring-Game. And they may be without him for the playoffs. Because some guy on the Capitals didn't "mean" to get his elbow up and hit him in the head.
Enough with this 'intent' bullshit.
I can't understand how the NHL can continually let this slide. The dysfunction is mindboggling. Absolutely mindf$^$ingboggling.
Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime