Speaking via phone, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli did not mince words when he was asked about the hit that concussed Marc Savard
last Sunday in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena and the lack of a disciplinary ruling or punishment to be handed down by the NHL.
"I am both surprised and angered," said Chiarelli on Wednesday. "The last couple of days I have been lobbying [Colin] Campbell and the hockey operations staff in respect of the [Matt] Cooke hit on Savard.
"The issue here is that, right now, there is no infraction for what Cooke did," explained the GM. "He didn’t leave his feet. He didn’t charge, didn’t use an elbow.
"It was a very surgical shoulder hit to the head and what I tried to convince the hockey operations staff to take it out of the current rule and use the repeat offender criteria to kind of implement an infraction of intent to injure."
But Cooke will go unpunished for a hit that will keep an all-star out of the Boston lineup for an indefinite period of time during the Bruins run toward a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs .
"I am disappointed," said Chiarelli. "I thought the hockey operations staff would push the envelope a bit on supplemental punishment.
"That didn’t happen and now we have a player who could be out for the year."
Asked if he felt like the B's were treated fairly during the review of the hit, Chiarelli said his first reaction would be to say no.
"I really felt that the combination of the factors that I mentioned would bring this outside of the simple facts." said Chiarelli, who was grateful to be heard, but wondered aloud about lack of a disciplinary ruling.
"Fair? I mean, what’s fair?," asked the B's GM rhetorically. "There is no real due process, but...I have been speaking with [Colin Campbell] and his staff until I left today at noon.
"So, I was heard...and that is part of fairness, so there was an element of fairness there."
Savard's concussion may indeed become the prime example during a process that will succeed in changing NHL rules regarding checks to the head, but the unbalanced nature of the facts pertaining to the 2009-10 season remain the same -- Boston's Savard remains off the ice with a grade two concussion and the author of the hit that injured Savard, Pittsburgh's Cooke, will be allowed to play without punishment.
And, as a result of the head injury sustained on Sunday, Chiarelli has been unable to speak with Savard who continues to fight through concussion symptoms in Boston.
"I haven’t even talked to him," said Chiarelli. "You can’t even talk to him right now.
"He has been sleeping every day and there is nothing to show for it."