Thursday, February 16, 2012
Habs fans cheer for Chara injury
By James Murphy
MONTREAL -- Zdeno Chara has always been booed at the Bell Centre, dating back to his days as a member of the Ottawa Senators. In fact, he might be the most hated visitor in Montreal ever since his controversial hit on Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty last March (Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebrae and major concussion).
Nonetheless, it was still shocking to hear the response Chara got when he took a puck to the chin off a Tomas Plekanec shot as time wound down in the first period. The Canadiens fans stood and cheered as the Boston Bruins captain was crouched on the ice, bleeding.
Canadiens fans let their dislike of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara cloud their judgment Wednesday.
He was eventually able to skate off on his own power, but following the game, Chara and the Bruins expressed their dismay.
"I can't control what the fans are going to do but it's disappointing, I guess," said Chara, who took stitches on his chin to close the gash.
"It's nothing to do with sport and even what happened previously with our two teams but that's something I can't control and that's all I have to say," Chara added.
Chara said he was OK but hinted that he may have been knocked a bit loopy from the shot.
"I got hit right in the chin and it took me a couple of seconds to get myself together," Chara said. "When you take pucks or sticks in the upper face if you want to call it that, it's a little bit different. But on the chin you're going to go down. It's something that it's hard to really control that and you're going to get knocked out a bit. I feel that it could be worse, could be better, but it's part of hockey."
Bruins coach Claude Julien -- who once coached the Canadiens -- said it's not the first time Habs fans let their emotions get the best of them.
"It's an opposing rink and he's been booed before so it doesn't really matter," Julien said. "I've seen worse here. I've seen them boo the American national anthem when I was here so sometimes it's disappointing but it's all about passion. Sometimes they care so much that maybe they don't think what the right thing is always to do but that's just the way it is."
Bruins winger Benoit Pouliot is a former Canadien as well, but he wasn't as lenient as his coach was with the Habs fans.
"Some guy gets a slap shot in the face and I don't know if I would cheer for that," Pouliot said. "It's pretty bad when it comes down to that. I know they don't really like Z here but at the same time he's still a hockey player and he just got a slap shot in the face so you don't do that. It's a little gutless."
Winger Brad Marchand had similar sentiments about the Bell Centre crowd.
"That's embarrassing. It's very classless. It could've been dangerous," he said.