Zdeno Chara, playing for the first time since his awkward hit that hospitalized Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty and set off a firestorm in Montreal, said he’s not going to change his style of play.
Chara, who logged 25 minutes and 54 seconds of ice time and collected a pair of assists in the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres tonight, showed he wasn’t gun-shy on his first shift, checking Sabres winger Jason Pominville.
“I don’t see any reason to change my game or my style of play,” said Chara, who was whistled for a dubious boarding penalty in the second period. “I’m going to continue to play physical and play hard. That’s my game, and I don’t see any reason for any change.”
Chara tried to steer clear of direct questions related to the Pacioretty hit, which is now the subject of a criminal investigation in Montreal. It’s an investigation many Canadiens fans have clamored for, but one that the alleged victim of the “crime,” Pacioretty, came out and said he was against.
Chara appreciated Pacioretty issuing a statement saying he was against criminal prosecution for the hit.
“Well, I just think it’s obviously a nice gesture. It’s something that for sure shouldn’t go that far,” said Chara. “It’s something that like I said is very unfortunate. I keep repeating that. You feel bad about it. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, and especially in that case, upper-body, most likely neck and head. We all feel bad about it. It doesn’t matter rivalry or not a rivalry. It’s something where we all want to see the guy recover.”
Bruins fans voiced their support for Chara, chanting his name less than a minute in.
“I’m very thankful for that,” Chara said. “It feels great for sure to be at home and to have that support from the fans.”
Chara said he planned to reach out to Pacioretty when the time was right.
“Obviously, I’m going to try to reach out to him to have a talk with him over the phone or try to see him in person,” said the Bruins’ captain. “I totally understand and respect that now he needs probably time and space to be around his closest [friends] and family. When the time is right we’re going to talk and somehow connect.”