Monday, April 11, 2011
Updated: April 12, 2:22 PM ET
How will Montreal treat Zdeno Chara?
By James Murphy
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara should not have any legal trouble in Montreal next week as a result of his hit on Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Monday.
The Bruins head to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 (April 18 and 21) of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Canadiens. Chara's hit during a March 8 game left Pacioretty with a concussion and a fractured vertebra. Acting on a request by Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne, the Montreal police opened an investigation into the hit March 10.
"They've been very good, the authorities up there, and I don't anticipate anything will happen when we get up there," Chiarelli said.
The Montreal Gazette reported Monday that police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said Montreal police are still investigating the hit, but that the Bruins had been told that Chara would not be questioned or arrested when the team is in Canada.
Chara said Tuesday that he has reached out to Pacioretty.
"Yes, yes I did. We talked," Chara said. He would not share what the two discussed.
The Bruins GM isn't worried that the inevitable scrutiny and controversy the Bruins captain will face in this series, especially when it shifts to Montreal, will distract Chara. Chiarelli also isn't fearing any safety issues for his player as far as Montreal fans go. Chiarelli has been very impressed with how Chara stayed focused after the hit.
"I expect there to be obviously a heightened sense of emotion from the media, from the fans, from just people walking around the city," Chiarelli said. "I don't anticipate any security concerns. I think it's going to be -- you've seen how emotional it gets up there so I think it's going to be, I think there will be a bit of a frenzy. So we're preparing for it and whatever happens, we'll deal with it.
"I was really impressed with the way that he [Chara] handled it and the way that he played. His play didn't falter. I mean 'Z' gets booed pretty much everywhere in the Northeast anyways, so I don't think that's obviously much of a change for him."
Chara finished the regular season with 14 goals and 30 assists, and more importantly, the Bruins finished third in the East.
"I think this guy should be a strong Norris candidate," Chiarelli said. "I think his year, I think he's been very good this year and it's just, this incident may overshadow the fact that he's deserving of a candidacy for the Norris. And again I think he's had a real strong year and his game is not sexy, but his game is really, really effective."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.