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Penguins say police aren't needed for Chara hit

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By Josh Yohe
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Many Penguins on Friday chose not to speak publicly about Boston's Zdeno Chara's hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty. The consensus, however, indicated the Penguins believe the Montreal police's involvement is unnecessary.

Pacioretty has been released from the hospital but suffered a severe concussion and cracked vertebra in his neck Tuesday when Chara checked him into the stanchion separating the players' benches.

"It's definitely (over the top)," right wing Craig Adams said. "There are certain things that happen in the course of a game that can be debated. Maybe some hits warrant a suspension or a penalty. We've all crossed the line one time or another with a hit, but what Chara did was something was part of the game. It doesn't require the police being involved."

Chara was given a five-minute penalty for interference and was ejected but was not subsequently disciplined by the NHL. The force of the hit wasn't particularly malicious, but critics have argued Chara recklessly guided Pacioretty into a dangerous position.

Adams said there is a difference between a hit like Chara's and when a "player skates up from behind you and punches you," a reference to Todd Bertuzzi's 2004 punch of Steve Moore and the Islanders' Matt Martin attack of the Penguins' Max Talbot that sparked February's brawl-filled game.

The Penguins agreed that the incident is another black eye for the league during a season that has yielded several controversial hits.

"I just hope (Pacioretty) recovers," left wing Chris Kunitz said. "It's something that is hard for fans of hockey to watch. It's not good for the game when so many hits are receiving so much attention."

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Scouting report

Penguins vs. Canadiens

2 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center

TV/radio: FSN/WXDX-FM 105.9 and the Penguins Radio Network

Season series: The Penguins are 1-1-1 against the Canadiens. In the most recent meeting, the Penguins, buoyed by four power-play goals, won, 5-2, on Jan. 12 in Montreal.

Penguins' streak: Won 2

Who to watch: RW Alex Kovalev, who figures to be featured prominently on the power play against his former team.

Trends: Going back to last season's playoffs, the Canadiens have won in three of their past four visits to Pittsburgh. ... Montreal has strong special teams, entering Friday's action eighth in the NHL on the power play and seventh in penalty killing. ... RW Brian Gionta, who scored the last goal at Civic Arena, leads Montreal with 24 goals. .. Penguins D Kris Letang has one goal in his past 24 games.

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