Chara avoids Pacioretty questions

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With Max Pacioretty, who had been out with a wrist injury but returned Wednesday night, possibly facing Zdeno Chara and the Bruins for the first time since last March 8, when Chara hit Pacioretty into the stanchion between the benches at the Bell Centre and the Canadiens winger suffered a broken vertebra and severe concussion, there were plenty of questions about the incident after Bruins practice. Chara and the Bruins, however, avoided the topic.

“I’m excited to play the game,” the Bruins captain answered when asked about the subject.

Bruins veteran winger Shawn Thornton did reflect a bit on the aftermath of the hit and the question of whether there was intent to injure by Chara.

“I know Z as a person and he’s a very caring individual,” Thornton said. “I don’t know anymore. I’m really done talking about that crap, but all I know is Z has been my captain for five years and he’s a really good man with a big heart.”

Thornton also said that it's unfair for an observer to judge a players' intent on a hit.

“I don’t want to get into overanalyzing that play or any other. It happened,” Thornton said of the hit. “But the game itself moves very quickly and there’s some pretty strong guys in the league now. Everything happens so fast now on the ice and all I know is it’s a lot easier to be watching games say on the ninth level at the Garden in the press box when things develop and it looks like it takes a couple of seconds but really when you’re on ice level and out there it’s so much faster.

"Everyone should really try one game to sit down low on the glass and realize how fast that game moves when you’re out there. The game is very quick and very fast and the guys are so big, so really that has to be considered on any controversial hit.”

The incident in March led the Bell Centre to improve the stanchion where Pacioretty’s head hit and also spurred the league to install curved spring-loaded Plexiglas stanchions between the benches to improve player safety.