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NHL won't suspend Zdeno Chara for hit on Max Pacioretty

The league rules the hit, which resulted in a concussion and a broken vertebra, does not merit any further discipline.

March 09, 2011|Staff and wire reports

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has a severe concussion and a broken vertebra as a result of a frightening hit by Boston's Zdeno Chara that will not draw further discipline from the NHL.

Pacioretty broke the fourth cervical vertebra and is in a hospital under observation, Canadiens Coach Jacques Martin said Wednesday.

"There is no other prognosis at this time," Martin said after practice. Martin said Pacioretty will "obviously be out indefinitely."

Pacioretty was taken off the ice with 15.8 seconds left in the second period of the Canadiens' 4-1 victory Tuesday night.

"The most important thing for our organization right now is Max's recovery. We will continue following recommendations from the doctors and of course, Max and his immediate family would appreciate privacy in this matter," he added in a statement on the Canadiens' website.

The 22-year-old player was chasing the puck along the boards in front of the team benches late in the second period when he was checked hard by Chara. His head slammed into the glass partition between the benches. He lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before he was taken to a hospital, where he spent the night.

"What I remember about it was the sound — it sounded like a gun: bang!" said Pacioretty's linemate Scott Gomez. "Stuff like that is tough to look at."

Chara was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct, but NHL vice president Mike Murphy said Wednesday there will not be a suspension.

"I feel bad about what happened," Chara said at practice Wednesday before learning of Murphy's decision. "I was trying to make a strong hockey play and play hard and it's very unfortunate, like I said, that a player got hurt and had to leave the game."

Murphy said: "After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline. This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards. I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous."

Coach Dan Bylsma, who has the Pittsburgh Penguins in contention for the No. 1 seeding in the Eastern Conference even though they are without stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2013-14.


UCLA's Bell has surgery

UCLA quarterback Darius Bell had shoulder surgery last week and will sit out spring practice, leaving the Bruins with a limited number of quarterbacks for the workouts. Bell injured the shoulder during the Washington game in November, his only appearance during the season.

Defensive tackle Brandon Willis received a release from his scholarship and wants to transfer to North Carolina to be near his grandmother, who is ill.

That transfer is contingent on the NCAA granting him immediate eligibility, according to a person in the UCLA athletic department who was not authorized to speak on the subject. If the NCAA doesn't grant immediate eligibility, Willis, who sat out as a redshirt last season, probably will remain at UCLA.

— Chris Foster

The family of the Notre Dame student who died filming a Fighting Irish football practice when a hydraulic lift fell over in October is pleased the university is installing remote-controlled cameras to prevent a similar tragedy.

"The family thinks that's a very wise course of action, very much a safer environment for their employees," said Mike Miley, the uncle of Declan Sullivan.

Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., died Oct. 27 when the hydraulic lift he was on fell while he was filming practice. The National Weather Service reported gusts of up to 51 mph at the time and the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating why the lift fell over.


Miller ends his season early

The U.S. Ski Team announced that Bode Miller has cut short his World Cup season for the third consecutive year, raising questions about whether he might retire. The team told the Associated Press that Miller, a two-time World Cup champion, will skip the final two stops on this year's circuit to spend time with his daughter in San Diego.

Miller, 33, flew home to San Diego after the world championships and already had skipped the last two World Cup stops, at Bansko, Bulgaria, and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The U.S. team had been expecting him back this weekend in Kvitfjell, Norway, but Miller will skip the races there and next week at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was awake and able to respond to doctors Wednesday after he was hit in the face by Brian McCann's foul line drive during an exhibition game at Kissimmee, Fla.

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