Max Pacioretty Suspended Three Games
The Shanhammer has officially dropped on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.
We talked about it on Saturday night, and the general consensus was that Pacioretty would likely sit a few games, following a dangerous hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman and Quebec native Kris Letang.
Late in the third period, Letang came streaking up the ice with a Pens winger, cut across the high slot after the blueline, and wound up for a shot at the net. Pacioretty cut through in the opposite direction, looking for a hit. Unfortunately, Letang was hunched forward and looking elsewhere, and got a face-full of shoulder that would go on to break his nose and leave him bloodied on the ice. Following the insertion of a pin in his nose, as well as a speedy "concussion test", he would return to the game in overtime to score a controversial game-winning goal.
Pacioretty reportedly apologized for the hit, and we have a feeling that the apology was as sincere as the hit was innocent and unintentional. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for NHL disciplinarean Brendan Shanahan, who decided to have Pacioretty sit for three games.His explanation:
As Letang crosses the blue line, his head is up and his winger is driving to the net. In spite of the fact he knows a check is imminent, he still makes the decision to put the puck on the net. Cutting through the middle like this, all players accept the danger and expectation that a full body check may be looming. Letang makes the decision to sacrifice his body, and must accept the possibility of taking a hit to make the play.
However, what no player should expect is that his head will be picked and made the principal point of contact on such a hit.
Shanahan also made a point to cite Pacioretty's lack of supplemental discipline in the past (both for and against him, incidentally -- I'm looking at you, Zdeno), but that didn't seem to figure into the final decision, as the Habs forward will sit three games.
Here's the video explanation:
While I understand why Shanahan had to suspend Pacioretty (I predicted 2-3 games myself), there seems to be a few gaps in his logic. Shanahan pretty much admits that there was nothing Pacioretty could do to avoid hiding Letang in the face, yet he then goes on to say that it's Pacioretty's responsibility not to hit him in the face (there's that word again, "onus"). Personally, I didn't like how Patches streaked in to hit him, as there was no way Letang would have seen him, but it's a peculiar way to explain it. When someone's head is perched out the way Letang's is, how can we expect someone to miss it?
What I sincerely hope is that people stop bringing up the Chara incident every time a Hab is involved in some sort of incident. Yes, we get it, Chara got off Scott-free for a ridiculously dangerous hit, and ya, the chances of Pacioretty getting suspended if he was wearing Gold and black would likely be lower, but it doesn't matter. Objectively, Pacioretty deserved the suspension he was just handed, and that's something we have to live with.
We should at least be happy that Pacioretty wasn't in the Bell Centre parking lot trying to make excuses for himself 20 minutes after the game, and considering the comments he made while he was sitting at home with a broken neck (about being disgusted at the lack of a suspension towards Chara), we're sure that he's going to accept what came to him this evening.
Anyway, all of this means Pacioretty will miss the Canadiens Western road trip this week, as the Habs prepare for games against the Ducks, Sharks and Kings, and that can't be good news for the team, as Pacioretty is their leading goalscorer and obviously one of their best players. Their SoCal roadtrip was going to be difficult as it, now, Pacioretty's absense will make it even harder.
On the bright side, it's looking as if Andrei Markov could be making his long-awaited return this week, so you can bet TCL - Habs will be right on top of that situation as it develops.
What are your thoughts on Pacioretty's suspension? Too much? Not enough? Just right? Let us know in the comments below.