Thursday, March 24, 2011
10:37 AM Kamal Panesar 8 comments
Has there ever been a game that had as much hype surrounding it as tonight's match between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins?
Well there probably has been but in my 37 years of hockey watching I certainly can't remember one.
We all know about the back story, the fallout and the subsequent call for changes in the NHL that were spurred by Zdeno Chara's devastating hit on Max Pacioretty only 16 days ago.
So with the final regular season game between these two teams set to take place tonight in Boston, Mark Recchi spiced things up yesterday by saying on Boston radio that the Canadiens embellished Pacioretty's injury "a little".
Well, as expected, that set the world on fire with a largely negative backlash against the Bruins veteran.
At 43 years of age and with 21 seasons under his belt, it is inconceivable to think that Recchi would make such a foolish comment, even if he did believe it. The only potential save for Recchi is that listening to the interview, he was clearly goaded into the comment but, as a veteran, he should have known better than to throw fuel on a bonfire.
I think Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette said it best when he called Recchi's comments irresponsible and offensive.
Damn straight, Dave!
With the recent suspension of Matt Cooke for his elbow to the head of the Rangers' Ryan McDonough, and general managers, fans, media and players alike calling for a change, Recchi's comments set him and the Bruins franchise back into the stone age.
At question in all of this is the quickness with which Pacioretty seems to be recovering from a severe concussion and broken vertebra in his neck.
I'm not a doctor but from everything I have read about concussions the severity is judged by the length of time that a person is knocked unconscious, and not by the after effects. So a severe concussion means that the brain severely impacted the skull, knocking the player out for an extended period of time but makes has no impact on the recovery time.
The funny thing about concussions is that no two are the same and each person recovers along a different timeline, the reasons for which remain a mystery to doctors.
Some people are more minorly concussed but are never able to shake the headaches that accompany physical activity and, as such, can never play again. Others need a year or more off before being able to recover.
Others still, like Pacioretty, inexplicably have little to no after-effects from the collision. So just because a player doesn't suffer after-effects of a concussion, does this mean that they or the medical staff are embellishing the injury?
Absolutely not, and to claim that they are in order to get a player, in this case Chara, suspended is obscenely ignorant and completely missing the point.
When a player is injured as badly as Pacioretty was—according to doctors his fractured vertebra was millimeters away from being a life ending or paralyzing injury—the concern is the health of the player and not suspension.
It is when a player's life hangs in the balance due that people should remember that hockey is just a game. There are much more important things in life and the fact the Pacioretty seems to be suffering no ill effects and could be back in time for the playoffs is absolutely miraculous.
That Recchi was foolish enough to try and cast an insidious shadow on the Canadiens motives shows the level to which he has been absorbed by the Bruins goon-like mentality.
This is 2011 people, not 1971, and it's time for the game and it's backward thinking players to get with the times before someone actually dies on the ice.
Kamal is a freelance Habs writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and Habs writer on TheFranchise.ca. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on The Team 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 8 - 9 AM. Listen live at http://www.team990.com/
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)