Pacioretty Fallout Part 2 -Outside the Boards


The fallout off the ice has been remarkable in addition to the uproar by fans over the lack of suspension.

1.  Air Canada threatening to withdraw its sponsorship – This threat appears to be an idle threat by a Montreal based company looking to make a name for itself in the media.  There is no way AC risks losing the 10 or 12 teams that use its services for charter flights all season over the NHL rules and rulings. If Air Canada is so worried about having their brand associated with anything untoward, they better reconsider their naming of the ACC, because Kid Rock is scheduled to perform there in May and – believe it or not – there might just be some foul language involved during the concert.

2. Calls for Mike Murphy and Colin Campbell’s jobs – First of all, the NHL office works for the owners.  Their job is to do the bidding of the owners based on their agreed to policies and procedures.  They cannot unilaterally make up rules on the fly and impose their own personal beliefs on the ruling.  They have to rule based on the evidence given.  In fact, I tweeted as soon as the ruling was announced, “let the Colin Campbell bashing begin” because I knew Montreal fans would be out for blood, never mind the fact that Campbell didn’t have anything to do with the ruling  (Conspiracy theorists feel free to oppose this statement).

3. Government Intervention – PM Stephen Harper put his two cents in, not specifically about the Pacioretty incident, but headshots in general.  He said  “I don’t think that’s good for the game and I think the league has to take a serious look at that for its own sake.” (   Talk about stating the obvious, but there are situations where despite all the rules you could put into place, the result could not be avoided.  I am all for bannig and cracking down on the blindside hits and hits to the head, but Chara’s was neither.

4.  Montreal Police Investigating – Apparently the emergency numbers of the Montreal Police department has been flooded with complaints about Chara, demanding criminal charges.  The fact that the police are even investigating the incident is a waste of time in my opinion.  I have never been a fan of legal involvement in the game at a professional level.  The game is set up for its own level of justice, and just because you don’t agree with that outcome, you don’t go crying to the police to get your sense of justice.  If the Montreal Police lay charges against Chara, any hit, any fight (especially those with a clear instigator), could come under the same scrutiny.   That would not be good for anyone involved.  Pacioretty himself said he didn’t want criminal charges laid and it was a hockey play.  Fans need to accept the ruling (whether they agree with it or not), wish Pacioretty well and support him in his recovery.  Then they should get on with the season and support their team.

5.  Overall Glorification of ViolenceDon Cherry‘s Rock’em, Sock’em tapes have been around for a couple of decades, and violent hits are glorified constantly.  I remember watching them to get pumped up before my pee wee games, for crying out loud.  People love a train wreck, otherwise how do you explain the popularity of NASCAR.  A Canadian network has a weekly Friday segment entitled “Fights of the Week”.  Many game broadcasts have a “Hit of the Night” highlight, which is sponsored by one company or another.  Face the facts, people love the hits and fights, and they are a reason we love the game.  But as the saying goes, “its all fun and games until someone loses an eye”.  Well Max Pacioretty lost his proverbial eye, and now people seem to be surprised and shocked that it happened.

I’m not surprised in the least.  Based on the way teams are built, scouted and try to get the biggest, strongest and fastest, this type of play is inevitable.  As long as there is a silver chalice at the end of the road, (not to mention the multi-million dollar contracts) there isn’t much anyone can do to prevent these types of incidents.  NHL players are in the league for a reason.  If they weren’t the ultimate competitors, they wouldn’t be there.  If they weren’t willing to take the risks involved, they would have become accountants.

My advice is to let the people inside the game (players, owners, governors) determine what should be done.   They are the ones with an actual stake in the game.  If you happen to not like the product they put out, then you are free to say so by changing the channel or not buying the tickets.   If you want to pull your sponsorship, feel free to do so but remember why you are sponsoring the entity to begin with, and what the benefits are.

In conclusion, I am hoping this will be the last I have to post about this incident.  I know there are many things wrong with the game, and many things that can be done to increase player safety.  However, in this particular occasion, I don’t know what could have been done.  The incident happened during the normal course of the game, and 95% of the time would not have resulted in any injury whatsoever, let alone one as serious as what was sustained.  In fact, before the lockout it would most lilekly not have even been a penalty.


Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

Can’t get enough of SenShot?  Here are more ways to get the most info about your Ottawa Senators.

You can follow us on Twitter: follow Tony @13thforward and Jared @alfieisgod.

Visit our SenShot Facebook Page. Like us and post comments, photos and videos.

Please visit our NHL Main PageToo Many Men On The Site.