Once in Max Pacioretty's position, Ryan Smyth sees no fault with Zdeno Chara

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
6:01
PM ET

Zdeno Chara's controversial hit on Max Pacioretty this week was reminiscent for Ryan Smyth.

The veteran Los Angeles Kings winger was nailed into the turnbuckle by Jack Johnson (today they're teammates) in March 2008.

"I think it was really similar," Smyth told ESPN.com Thursday.

[+] EnlargeRyan Smyth
Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesRyan Smyth, right, and Jack Johnson became teammates on the Kings in 2009.
Smyth, then with Colorado, missed two weeks with a separated shoulder and a concussion. Johnson escaped NHL discipline, just like Chara did this week. Montreal fans were ultra upset with the league's decision, but Smyth has no issue with it.

"When I looked at it, I think it's just a clean check and an unfortunate situation where the stanchion is there and he hits it," Smyth said. "The same with me. Half a second earlier, there's no call. Half a second later, there's no call. In my opinion. If I was half a second later, I would have just rubbed out against the glass. Half a second earlier, I could have grabbed on a little bit. I could have leaned over and hit my whole body onto it and braced myself a bit more."

Smyth said he feels terrible for Pacioretty, knowing just how it feels to get pounded into the turnbuckle, but the Kings veteran can't find fault with Chara.

"I don't think Zdeno Chara has a mean bone in his body," said Smyth. "And if he did, he could probably kill some guys out there. Litterally, he's a giant. But it is unfortunate, I do feel for Max Pacioretty. It's awful. I feel for him and his career."

Smyth wonders if the league can't improve the area where the stanchions sit near the players' benches.

"I think they should round the plexiglass, curve it so there is no corner, no point," suggested Smyth. "I was looking at it again today in Columbus between the benches. They could go back a foot back and round it. I don't know, that's just my idea."

Part of the discussion next week at the GMs meeting is expected to touch on rink safety around the NHL.

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