With the Montreal Canadiens facing the Boston Bruins Thursday, I was more focused on a pivotal match. The outcome could decide whether the Canadiens finish first in the Northeast Division, earning home-ice advantage, or battling for a middle of the pack position.
The Zdeno Chara Max Pacioretty incident would certainly be on the players minds, but the true focus of the players would be getting a critical win. I was thinking along the same lines, grudgingly willing to move after the NHL dropped the ball on the incident.
That all changed after I came across a few tweets late this afternoon.
It should come as no surprise that Boston radio personalities Felger and Mazz decided to open their yaps yet again. For those of you unfamiliar with them, lucky you. But to refresh your memories, this pair were the ones who jumped on The Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey, following the 8-6 gong show back in February. Hickey was accused as being a typical Frenchman, following his report on the game. I of course responded to that, and yes I got my radio hosts mixed up, but was still peeved with their remarks.
During today's show, the Boston radio "heros" focused on Pacioretty. You can hear what they said here, and note the intro, "Fact, not opinion."
I think it's Felger who begins, and instantly questions the Canadiens medical staffs assessment of Pacioretty's injury. He goes on to say that it was Pacioretty that made his announcements on his recovery and return. Hmmm I was sure it was the Canadiens organization that did all that. Felger also said that both reports happened two days later. Really? I was sure it was more than two days, before the Canadiens gave us a potential time for Pacioretty's return. Fact, not opinion, eh boys?
The duo straightforwardly accuse the Canadiens and Pacioretty of embellishment. I wasn't aware that these guys had medical degrees or felt that recovery time for all concussions was the same. Perhaps Dr. David Mulder wasted several years in medical school, and should have just gone into radio to make a medical diagnosis.
But it gets worse, and this part was absolutely appalling.
Mark Recchi joined the conversation, and whether he was coaxed into it or not, came out with the same conclusions. "The concussion was really a non factor, maybe he felt it for a day or two. They were trying to get Zdeno (Chara) suspended, and they embellished it a little bit. They were doing what they could to get him suspended."
The Bruins veteran backed the NHL's decision that the incident was simply a hockey play. Recchi is also a one-time NHLPA rep and with retirement looming. We all know the NHLPA's stance on the issue, so I doubt the 43-year-old wants to risk a future cushy job with Donald Fehr down the line.
Recchi also mentions that Pacioretty tweeted that he was at a movie four or five days later. "If you have a concussion, you're not going to be at a movie," he said. I skimmed through the Habs forward's tweets, and didn't see any mention of going to a movie.
To hear a couple radio loudmouths spew off is one thing, but for a professional player to make that kind of accusation is totally innapropriate. Would he have said the same if rolls were reversed? Absolutely not.
Accusing a player of diving is one thing, but to question a team's medical staff is a completely different scenario, and boders on an accusation of medical malpractice. In my opinion, his comments should be reviewed by the NHL. Yeah, who am I kidding?
Recchi goes on to cite that the fans judgment and reaction to the incident was clouded by their passion. "There's no other sports up there, especially a major sport. I loved playing up there, and it's a great city to play in, but their judgment was clearly clouded up there.
"The league made their statement and, that's where it should have ended. Because of the passion, and the history between the Bruins and the Canadiens, they're making a bigger deal out of it."
Mark Recchi certainly lost a lot of respect from Canadiens fans with his comments today. Though not one to support the defacing of public property, my "inner voice" had no problem seeing his name removed from the team monument in Centennial Plaza.
Chara, in the meantime is happy to hear the Pacioretty's condition has improved. CJAD noted that The Bruins captain has tried to contact him, with no success.
We'll probably get reaction from the Canadiens players, on Recchi's remarks tomorrow, as the Canadiens were en route to Boston this afternoon for Thursday's game.
Carey Price and Brian Gionta both had therapy days and missed Wednesday's practice. Alexandre Picard left practice early, after taking a shot off the leg from Benoit Pouliot. His status will be updated tomorrow.
There is also a strong possibility that Tomas Plekanec will be ready for Thursday's game, but coach Jacques Martin said it would be a game-time decision.
The Canadiens are certainly not thinking revenge against Chara, or retaliation towards Recchi, and would be happiest to leave the TD Bannorth Centre with two points.
"If you ask Patch, the biggest thing right now is for us to win," said Habs forward Ryan White. "We've given ourselves an opportunity to catch these guys and tomorrow's a big four-point night."
P.K. Subban is another player that is just focused on the game, and of course the charming Boston fans. "As long as we come out with the two points, that's all I care about. They can boo from here until Timbuktu," the Canadiens rooke said. "It's going to be fun. It's always fun. These are the games that you want to play."
This will be the last regular season meeting between the Habs and Bruins. If the standings stay the way they are, there is a strong chance the two clubs will meet in the first round of the playoffs.
Oh and before Bruins fans go on a rampage, chillax. The photo is of Bobby Orr and teammate Carl Vadnais and wrestling legend Andre The Giant. Andre and Vadnais, who began his career with the Habs, were friends when the latter played in Los Angeles. A great story on the encounter can be read at Greatest Hockey Legends.
Read what those loving Bruins fans are saying at Stanley Cup of Chowder