View Full Version : An Open Letter to the NHL - CONTEST ENTRY

03-11-2011, 11:11 AM
by Richard McAdam aka RGM81

The following text is a copy of the letter I sent to the NHL Head Office in New York yesterday regarding the illegal and devastating hit by Zdeno Chara on Max Pacioretty, and the subsequent lack of supplementary disciplinary action by the NHL against Chara for the hit.

https://www.sportscardforum.com/images/imported/2011/03/1744.jpgThe NHL Response to the Chara/Pacioretty Incident

Richard McAdam
National Hockey League
1251 Ave Of The Americas # 47
New York, NY 10020
(212) 789-2000
March 10, 2011

To Whom It May Concern,

I am outraged at the decision of the NHL’s disciplinary committee regarding the incident involving Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens. How Mr. Murphy could be so callous as to describe Chara’s actions as being a “hockey play” absolutely defies all common sense. It was an illegal action, as deemed by the on-ice official who called a five-minute major penalty and assessed a game misconduct to Chara. There are many precedents set by your disciplinary committee that intent, which was clearly the prevailing factor in decision in this case, is secondary to the outcome of the play. The best example of this took place when Alexander Ovechkin was suspended in March 2010, Mr. Campbell stated that the play which injured Brian Campbell was “reckless” and that even though there was no intent to injure, players must be held responsible for their actions when those actions result in another player being injured. How is it that this standard does not apply in this situation?

The replays indicate that Chara was fully aware of where he was on the ice, and that his hand/elbow guided Pacioretty’s head so that it had nowhere to go but “the turnbuckle” seemingly suggests that there was some intent on the play. I am certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Chara did not intend to break Pacioretty’s neck and severely concuss him. But I am shocked and appalled that Mr. Murphy concluded that he could find no evidence “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.” Chara is 6’9” – he doesn’t have to leave his feet to hit anybody in the NHL. Pacioretty himself stated—after the suspension was handed down, from his hospital bed—that he felt that his head was targeted and that Chara “was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle.”

In your rush to sweep this incident under the carpet and trumpet the machismo of the game by stating that illegal (as deemed by the on-ice official) plays which can result in catastrophic injury are “hockey play[s]” and thus just part of the game, you have failed miserably to demonstrate that the NHL is concerned with protecting its players. A promising career of a 22-year old man now hangs in the balance because he has a fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion. You have chosen not to hold the player responsible for the condition of Max Pacioretty accountable for his thoroughly reckless, dangerous, and unnecessary play. In the warped mentality of the NHL, sitting out the third period of a game in which the Bruins were trailing 4-0 is sufficient punishment for potentially ruining a man’s career and indeed his very quality of life. I find this absolutely reprehensible and disgusting.

I have been a hockey fan for my entire life. I have attended games, I have acquired a large amount of memorabilia of my favourite teams and players, and I have always supported the game. What the NHL has done in turning a blind eye to incidents such as this makes it incredibly difficult for me to continue supporting the NHL. Tonight, March 10th, features a game that I have been anticipating for many months, as the Montreal Canadiens take on the St. Louis Blues. And yet, I find that my level of interest in the outcome of this game is severely diminished because my thoughts are first and foremost focused on the well-being of Max Pacioretty, and the utter failure of your League and its disciplinary committee to hold Zdeno Chara accountable for his actions. Most damning to the credibility of the League’s disciplinary committee is the statement that “Chara has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career.” If this transpires again a week from now and another player is injured by Chara, because of your inaction here, Chara will still not have been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career. Mr. Murphy could not even see fit to hand out a token and pithy 1-game suspension or issue a fine to establish that Chara would have a supplementary discipline history on his record. That is an egregious level of negligence, and a slap in the face to Max Pacioretty.

The NHL has a serious credibility problem on its hands when it comes to policing its players. It has allowed the best player in the world, Sidney Crosby, to be injured. The League even had a second chance after the David Steckel blindside hit to the head, when Victor Hedman slammed Crosby’s head into the glass on a hit from behind. It failed on both occasions. The best player in the world has not played a game since January and continues to endure the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome brought on by hits to the head. I suppose that I should not have been surprised to learn that Chara would not be suspended for breaking the neck of Max Pacioretty. After all, the NHL did nothing to protect its best player or take action against those who injured him. Since there’s no such thing as special treatment for superstars in the NHL, and all players are equal, if you don’t protect Crosby why would you protect Pacioretty. That is the issue the NHL faces based on the precedents it has set. It is shameful, and I hope that the people responsible feel the full wrath of the players, the fans, and the media for the abject negligence to step up and say that enough is enough and start doing something to restore justice in the NHL.


Richard McAdam

03-11-2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write. I for one, consider myself a hockey fan. I love the speed of the game. However, I felt very similar to you after Todd Bertuzzi slammed Steve Moore's head into the ice. It was clear that Bertuzzi "went after" Moore.

I used to kind of admire the way hockey players went about their just because it seemed that hockey players could fight and later have a beer together. It was sort of the "cost of doing business".

Some will argue that Bertuzzi lost a 1.5 seasons (if my memory serves me correctly), that he served his time before being reinstated. Wikipedia lists the following reasons why Bertuzzi was reinstated:

Bertuzzi serving a suspension of 20 games, which at the time tied for 4th longest in NHL history (13 regular season games, 7 playoff games)[6] (http://www.sportscardforum.com/#cite_note-SuspensionLength-5)
Bertuzzi's repeated attempts to apologize to Moore personally
Bertuzzi's forfeited salary ($501,926.39 )
Lost endorsements (approximately $350,000.00, both figures in United States dollars (http://www.sportscardforum.com/wiki/United_States_dollar))
Significant uncertainty, anxiety, stress and emotional pain caused to Bertuzzi's family
The commissioner's belief that Bertuzzi was genuinely remorseful and apologetic for his actions
Moore was 24 at the time of the incident never suited up again.

In my opinion, you almost have to make an example of someone. If you cause injury due to malicious intent (doesn't matter if your name is Steve Moore or Wayne Gretzky), then you're out indefinitely. This is the only way to stop this criminal behavior. Bertuzzi should still be in jail (IMO).

I think one of the things that bothers me most is the fact that many people have forgotten about Steve Moore because he wasn't a superstar. Bertuzzi skates freely. Are you kidding me?

03-11-2011, 11:46 PM
Good stuff Richard! Entry posted here: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2011/03/an-open-letter-to-the-nhl/

LGB Cards
06-06-2011, 04:44 PM
In my opinion, you almost have to make an example of someone. If you cause injury due to malicious intent (doesn't matter if your name is Steve Moore or Wayne Gretzky), then you're out indefinitely. This is the only way to stop this criminal behavior. Bertuzzi should still be in jail (IMO).

I think one of the things that bothers me most is the fact that many people have forgotten about Steve Moore because he wasn't a superstar. Bertuzzi skates freely. Are you kidding me?

No, it does matter obviously, and the letter you wrote and this comment shows it DOES matter who you are and who YOU care about.

You mention Chara's hit on a player that is on the team you route for. You mention Crosby and we all know why.

What about David Perron? You probably have no clue who that is and don't care but he was hit on November 4th of 2010 and hasn't played a game since. He was hit on his blind side by Joe Thornton, came straight out of the box and put his shoulder into Perron's head. Less than 3 seconds out of the box on a penalty, gets a game misconduct and a major and gets thrown out of the game, his discipline, nothing. You say Chara pushed Max's head, Thornton aimed his shoulder for Perron's head and the worse thing is he came out and waited for Perron, not even trying to play the puck. Perron is 23 years old, missed the last 72 games of the season, and is getting no better, he can't even begin to come back cause he can't pass the test to even try.

Now I am gonna be honest, watching that tape and reading these comments has no got me fired up again over this yet again. Not you people on here, not any fans outside of St. Louis, and not any of the sports media outside of St. Louis even discuss this incident. NO ONE CARES ABOUT HIM AT ALL AND IF YOU SAY DIFFERENT YOU ARE WRONG. If you wanted to address a letter to the NHL about hits then Perron, Crosby, and Max are the main people to discuss. Just like the Chara hit Thornton received a 5 minute major and game misconduct and was kicked out of the game but Perron never comes up in these discussion because he's not Crosby or one of the Sedin's or another star in a big market. Perron is loved here just like Max is there and we care just like you but it is obvious to us that we are not considered like we consider other.

I sent off a letter of support to the Canadiens for Max, wishing him a good recovery. Have you done this for Perron, no. Why did I do this? Cause I don't like seeing young players get hurt in the game I love. You go so far as to write a letter and people call Chara a criminal and say he needs to be banned but it ok that Thornton hurt this kids cause he is a Blue. You probably think I am just bias and crazy but go to Wikipedia, the Chara incident is on there in its own section and Air Canada's threat and the Montreal police investigation. The hit on Perron is buried in a general paragraph saying he got hit and missed the whole season and thats it. Nothing like the piece on the Canadiens player.

The link is below, watch it, his neck was not broken but he is motionless and had to be helped off the ice as well. This may be the play that has ended Perron's career at the age of 23 but that is still in limbo at this very moment. Despite him not being a Canadien he is still an NHL player and deserves the same treatment as Crosby or Max.


06-06-2011, 05:03 PM
I remember the play that resulted in Perron's injury. It is very unfortunate that this excellent young player (and contrary to your belief, I am very aware of who he is - many Habs fans wished that he was selected by Montreal instead of the pick that was Ryan McDonagh) and he has been spoken of on a number of occasions by myself and others in talking about the need to clean up the game. Don't confuse a single open letter, which was written at a time when the Pacioretty incident was on the minds of every hockey fan, with everything I've ever said or written in any venue.

Perron's a great young player and you are very correct--his is somewhat of a "forgotten injury" in a season where the headlines were dominant in talking about Sidney Crosby and Max Pacioretty. It is a shame if this 23-year old's career is in jeopardy. The Blues have a strong core of good young players and Perron definitely was a part of that. I hope that he can be again in the future after a full recovery.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

LGB Cards
06-06-2011, 05:11 PM
I understand what you are saying but at the same time the movement over Max could have easily started here with Perron and what happened with him and what the NHL didn't do after this. Max may have been on the mind when you wrote the letter but Perron was hurt months early than that with no uprising at all. The same letter could have been written after Perron's injury to address the same issues but wasn't. That is my stance on this, no one really cared until it was in a "big market" like Montreal when in St. Louis we were tied at the top of the sellout list for this year, tied with several for selling out every game but we are not considered a "big market" by the sports media

06-06-2011, 05:54 PM
While I understand that the intent of your posting is to point out that earlier events took place, I think the point of the original post was not to show favoritism towards one player or one team. The point was that the violence needs to stop (Richard even says this - the fact that he mentions one player or another doesn't really matter). You mention your player in 2010, but I'm not questioning why you didn't mention Steve Moore's hit back in 2004 (and hits before that), as he too was a young player who won't suit up again, so I sort of feel like its unfair to question why Richard didn't mention your player. The point remains the same that regardless of the player, the violence needs to stop. I think we're all on the same page with this. For me, the market (or the player) don't matter and I have tried to indicate this.

Again, your point isn't being lost on me. We all vent in different ways. Richard choose to write a letter to the NHL. You chose to write the players to show support. I didn't choose either way, but it doesn't mean I care any less.

06-06-2011, 06:03 PM
Part of the problem that comes up with a situation like this is visibility.

The Pacioretty hit happened on a game that was being broadcast nationally in Canada. At least a couple million people saw the hit as it happened between the TSN and RDS broadcasts. That audience responded in a very visceral way to seeing a guy having his neck broken on national television. A lot of people, when Max didn't move for a couple minutes, thought he was dead on the spot.

For probably 99.9% of the audience up here in Canada, they only heard about the Perron injury the next morning. That element of removal is pretty key. The full extent of Perron's concussion and its aftermath wasn't really known for some time after. At the time, many likely thought he'd be out for a handful of games and would return in short order. I don't think anybody at the time envisioned that he'd be put into the same career limbo as Marc Savard.

I'm in no way trying to mitigate what happened to Perron, just trying to explain why one play sparked a massive outcry amongst fans and the other one did not. If you don't see something happen, either live or in many cases not at all (as you noted, there are probably many who didn't know what happened to Perron), it doesn't have the same effect on a person as something that you have seen repeatedly, over and over again. I would imagine that in the week after the Pacioretty hit, I saw that play at least a hundred times.

You'll also recall that Thornton was suspended for his hit. Sure, two games is a pithy little suspension for ending a guy's season in November, and possibly his career if Perron's situation doesn't improve. But Chara got nothing at all, and the logic employed by the League flew in the face of their past verdicts on reckless plays that resulted in injuries to other players. That is really what fuelled much of the anger I let out in that letter, and inspired the cutesy little graphic that accompanies it.

In the final tally, two guys that are both just 23 years old got hurt on plays that should not have happened. By all accounts Pacioretty will be ready to resume his career this fall. I hope that the same is the case for Perron.

LGB Cards
06-06-2011, 06:29 PM
You missed my main point entirely sweetg1

1. I was discussing what happened this season, not what has happened in the past

2. You listed all the things Bertuzzi went though, the main point that Richard tried to make, look at his pic, and the point I tried to make is that the 2 people we are speaking of received NO discipline. The picture of Max being swept under the rug is portraying how the NHL just tried to make it go away. Bertuzzi received one of the longest suspensions ever and lost a ton of money.

My point is that Chara and Thornton received nothing, not even 1 game but as for Bertuzzi he got the 20 you mentioned. Then the other point is that people want to act like Chara did a horrible thing, and I don't disagree, but nothing ever gets said of what Thornton did to Perron when the only difference is that Perron did not get his neck fractured. Many people including fans and the press never speak of that incident but bring up what Chara did still to this day.

You may not be bias and I can believe that but the reality is that it doesn't cross your mind. Richard wrote a letter to the NHL about Max but it could have been written about Perron months earlier but wasn't and it was the same situation, actually being more deviant due to Thornton leaving his feet, waiting for Perron, and hitting him in the head without even acting like he was making a play on the puck, less than 3 seconds after coming out of the box. This doesn't get the attention that Chara, Max, Bertuzzi, or Moore got, those guys play in Boston, Colorado, Vancouver, and Montreal who are considered big markets while St. Louis is a great hockey town but still not looked at as a big market. Regardless of intentional bias Perron has never got the press for being illegally hurt while all the others listed here have.

Why did you also mention to leave out the fact that Moore blindside hit Naslund and injured him as well? The same kind of hit that Thornton and Chara where accused of. It is a shame that Moore was cut by Colorado but his hands where not clean in that either and he received nothing for hurting another player like everyone else in this discussion

I had a lady, from Montreal, at a Blues game this last year when they played the Habs. She had a sign saying that Chara and Bettman where criminals but had never herd of Perron getting hurt and said to me "Who cares? It was probably just a hockey hit, you are just sore about it cause it was a Blues player. It not like he got his neck broke like poor Max did. He'll be fine" Not knowing he had been out for months and while she is holding up a sign to show her feeling about Chara at a game he is not even playing in.

LGB Cards
06-06-2011, 06:40 PM
That is true, I forgot that Thornton did get 2 games.

Once again though, I am not arguing but discussing, the fact of how many people saw it shouldn't matter, its not helping Perron at all now. The game he got hurt in was also on 2 netwroks being viewed in California as well as the Mid-West.

I wasn't watching the Bruins Habs game, don't like either team, but seen the hit and watched it over and over to see what happened. Then wrote to Max, not liking the team he plays on, to wish him a full and speedy recovery.

The sad things is that Max will probably be playing while Perron is still on the shelf. The Blues have said that if he is not getting better by July or August they are going to have to look at the season without him, not knowing what that means but he hasn't even started recovering yet and will need probably 2 months or more. If he is ready today he won't be able to practice till August at best and has been sitting for 7 months now without being able to condition.

06-06-2011, 06:56 PM
LGB: I believe you are right and that I did miss the point about the suspensions. My mistake. I tried focusing on the fact that each of the acts involving all players, in my opinion, are criminal and should be treated as such. But I see what you're saying.

Regarding Moore's hit on Naslund...I think that Bertuzzi and any other of his teammates should have handled it the NHL way...man-to-man, face-to-face. They should have fought (seems strange to type that). That is the way it should have been handled. I don't think anyone would have had a problem with it. Moore's hit on Naslund didn't deserve a broken neck and a career ending injury. To my recollection, the Avs didn't cut Moore. He was physically unable to play and is still unable to play.

It's a shame that the lady gave the response that she did. That shows a lack of class on her part. I don't think we should all be placed in her category.

Good conversation....Welcome to SCF!