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Yesterday, after conducting a conference call with Chara, the NHL’s disciplinary gurus deemed the hit unworthy of any further discipline to the Boston captain, which of course triggered immediate outrage from the Montreal faithful. Pacioretty himself offered up comments to TSN’s Bob McKenzie yesterday from his hospital bed, saying he was “upset and disgusted” that Chara wasn’t suspended for the incident.
Montreal fans have also expressed their anger over the decision in extreme ways. In fact, stemming from hundreds of calls by fans to Montreal police since the announcement by the NHL of no suspension, Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, Louis Dionne, has requested Montreal authorities to launch a criminal investigation into Tuesday night’s on-ice incident. After evidence is collected, police will determine if there are grounds for prosecution.
As of this morning, an online petition had over 1,000 signatures, saying “Zdeno Chara deserves to be held responsible for breaking a man’s neck,” adding, “If that hit wasn’t assault causing bodily harm, I do not know what is!”
Criminal investigations from on-ice incidents are rare, but not unheard of. Jonathan Roy, descended ironically from former Canadiens’ goalie Patick Roy, was charged following a 2008 incident.