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Should Zdeno Chara Be Suspended?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Zdeno Chara is the kind of player you don’t miss on the ice.

However, on Thursday night, the Boston Bruins captain may have put himself in Brendan Shanahan‘s crosshairs. Late in the first period of a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, Chara took Tommy Wingels out with a high hit, and Wingels didn’t return afterward.

For a point of reference, the Chara hit on Wingels is posted below.

Later in the game, Chara cross-checked Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl in the face in front of the Bruins net. Chara wasn’t penalized on either play, but should Brendan Shanahan call him? Let’s take an objective look.

Suspend Him

On one hand, Chara’s hit on Wingels comes a night after his Bruins teammate, Loui Eriksson, was taken out by a targeted shot from Buffalo Sabres enforcer John Scott. Counting Scott’s indefinite suspension ahead of his in-person hearing, eight players have been suspended for illegal hits this season. It’s been a hot topic to start the season, and the NHL has been trying to get illegal hits out of the game. If you add the cross-check on Hertl to the Wingels hit, you have two incidents where Chara could have easily been penalized for a high hit.

However, the NHL has been accused of having double-standards in terms of handing out suspensions to star players and/or members of the Boston Bruins dating back to the Colin Campbell era, even though he recused himself from Bruins discipline as his son, Gregory Campbell, still plays for them. Chara is a star player for the Bruins, so if Shanahan elects not to suspend Chara, we could be in for the perfect storm of bias accusations and a lack of accountability.

Don’t Suspend Him

On the other hand, Chara is 6’9″, so he may have trouble getting down to get shoulder-to-shoulder with a player like Wingels, who is nine inches shorter. To dissuade any John Scott defenders, Chara was finishing a check on Wingels instead of coming across the ice for a blindside as Scott did to Eriksson. It also wasn’t a hit from behind like those delivered by Maxim Lapierre and Cody McLeod in earning their respective suspensions.

I’d agree that the forearm across the face isn’t the greatest visual to have, but Chara’s height may again play a role here. If the same hit is delivered by the 6’5″ Dustin Byfuglien, it’s likely a shoulder-to-shoulder hit instead of having the forearm coming up. However, it’s hard to say whether body positioning will be a factor in the decision.

As for the cross-check to Hertl, I’d say Chara should have received a two-minute minor for it and nothing more. The Wingels hit is the more concerning of the two plays, so I’m more interested to see if anything comes from it.

The most compelling comment came from Sharks head coach Todd McLellan in his post-game press conference, where he said he didn’t have a good view of the hit. Quotes are from CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz.

“You know what, every time somebody is hit now we quickly run to the video and we analyze – was it legal, was it illegal? It’s a hard game, and it’s played by hard players that have to get involved physically night in and night out. They have to take some lumps, too. We have to give some lumps, we have to take some lumps. If it’s dirty, I think it should be severely dealt with. If it’s hard hockey, then so be it.”

McLellan brings up a good point, so we’ll see if the NHL thinks the hit was dirty.

Chara won’t get the book thrown at him for the Wingels hit, but should he be at least subject to something? Answer the poll, post in the comments section below, voice your thoughts on Facebook, Tweet Too Many Men on the Site @TMMotS, or Tweet me directly @gecarragher.

Should Zdeno Chara be suspended by the NHL for his play against San Jose?

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Topics: Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara

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  • sabrina murphy b.

    First of all “However, the NHL has been accused of having double-standards in terms of handing out suspensions to star players and/or members of the Boston Bruins dating back to the Colin Campbell era..” ummm yeah if that were true Cooke would have been suspended when he hit Savard. Only one doing the complaining are idiot fans that are looking for any excuse to hate on the Bruins.

    Secondly, there is no real good video clip of this hit, this one is crap. No close up, slow motion video. So there for NO ONE could make any claims as to it being a head hit. Initial contact you can see Chara’s arms are down. That is the only thing one can determine.

    Thirdly I can remember many head hits on Bruins that have not warranted a mere penalty never mind a look from the NHL.

    • Meaghan Allen

      I don’t “hate on the Bruins,” but I do think Chara should’ve gotten a penalty on that hit. Curious as to where you’d say his arms are at here?

      • sabrina murphy b.

        No one doubts that one should have been a penalty.

        I had a long post but now it didn’t go through, it’s waiting a moderator… My point before is the hit on Wingels everyone is crying should be suspendable. Yet there is NO good video to validate the claim. No up close, slow motion shots at all. It’s absurd to make claims just because the announcers say so. Whenever I see a game and announcers are making claims, they prove it by showing an up close and slow motion replay.

  • Rory Stromberg

    Damn right he should get suspended. This guy has a history of cheap hits and intent to injure. He’s a completely unlikable human being, and he plays with no honor at all. That quite clearly shows an illegal hit, and what Sabrina fails to realize is that there’s no slow motion or multiple angles because the refs didn’t call a penalty on the play, so there was no opportunity to make quick edits like that. You can bet the NHL brass have those clips, but judging by their unwillingness to suspend star players from ANY team in regular, not just the Bruins, I highly doubt he’ll get suspended.

    • Jerry Smith

      Spoken like a true Sharks fan. To say he has a history of cheap hits with intent to injure & that he plays the game with no honor only goes to show you don’t really pay attention & you always watch hockey through your beer goggles. As far as the Wingels hit goes, Chara has almost a foot on the guy. Add in the factor Wingels looked likehe was trying to avoid the hit & there ya go.

  • Mark Boese

    Wow…70% in favour of suspending Chara. That’s a lot of bitter Habs fans.

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  • crzbaby four-twenty

    i didn’t see Chara hit him from behind..here’s my solution. why don’t we start putting high heels on ice skates. so they can be as tall as Chara. if that doesn’t seem possible we can always cut Chara down to his knees. and he just might be smaller than these bitches. also just take it for what it is..a loss. you thought you had it in the bag and we handed you your 1st loss this season with .08 seconds to spare.lol

  • trnichols

    You try to duck under a check and get hit in the head shame on you!That’s exactly what Wingles did.BOO HOO!

  • e ccc

    NHL, like the NFL, is looking at every head shot and is scared of future lawsuits with the current focus and research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    Chara’s hit was not only very late and a direct head shot, but the only point of contact was the head; that is not incidental contact. But, it’s Chara, so Shanahan will buy him a drink.

  • http://toomanymenonthesite.com/ Patrick Helper

    Chara will not be suspended. His name is worth to much to the NHL. I guess it’s OK to have a double standard if it makes money. The NHL front office is its own worst enemy.

    • Meaghan Allen

      Yeah… just announced there will be no hearing.

  • Andrew Thompson

    Chara should have been penalized for that hit. He should have sat for a high-stick on that play.

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  • Martin Pettersson

    He should be, but most likely won´t be.
    His play against Wingels is worse than Scotts against Eriksson because he smacks him with the forearm whereas Scott hit Eriksson with the shoulder.
    Will be interesting to see what comes from this.

  • NHLfarmteams

    Jacobs and Bettman had a beer and decided while the hit was suspend-able that Chara has been a good boy since the Pacioretty thing. They called Brendan and told him to let this one slide. Besides he wasn’t wearing a Canucks jersey so it’s not an offence.

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