Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty spoke to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie from his hospital room on Wednesday evening about the injury that he suffered against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Pacioretty shared his thoughts with TSN after learning earlier in the day of the NHL's decision not to take any further disciplinary action against Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara, who checked Pacioretty into the bench divider at the boards. Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae on the play.
"I am upset and disgusted that the league didn't think enough of (the hit) to suspend him," Pacioretty told TSN. "I'm not mad for myself, I'm mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it's okay, they won't be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt.
"It's been an emotional day. I saw the video for the first time this morning. You see the hit, I've got a fractured vertebrae, I'm in hospital and I thought the league would do something, a little something," said Pacioretty.
"I'm not talking a big number, I don't know, one game, two games, three games...whatever, but something to show that it's not right."
Chara was assessed a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct when the incident occurred late in the second period of Montreal's 4-1 victory. On Wednesday, NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Mike Murphy had a telephone hearing with Chara, and later issued a statement that said in part that "after a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline...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."
"It's been hard, obviously I feel bad about what happened," said Chara about the incident. "I was trying to make a strong hockey play and play hard. It's very unfortunate that [Pacioretty] got hurt and had to leave the game. It is in my mind."
Pacioretty disagreed with Chara's assessment of what happened on the play.
"I heard (Chara) said he didn't mean to do it. I felt he did mean to do it. I would feel better if he said he made a mistake and that he was sorry for doing that, I could forgive that, but I guess he's talking about how I jumped up or something."
"I believe he was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle. We all know where the turnbuckle is. It wasn't a head shot like a lot of head shots we see but I do feel he targeted my head into the turnbuckle."
Pacioretty also told TSN that he feels better physically than he thought he would after the incident. He explained that he has a sore neck and some other issues, but his head is clear and he has experienced no headaches. He is very encouraged and gratified by the support that he has received from Montreal fans and his family.