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by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – From the moment the 2010-11 NHL calendar was released last June, the Canadiens March matchup against the St. Louis Blues was a game of special interest for many. Coming on the heels of Tuesday night’s event, the subject of facing off against former teammate Jaroslav Halak was a very secondary concern in the Canadiens dressing room.

A little more than 12 hours after Max Pacioretty left the Bell Centre ice on a stretcher following a brutal check into the boards from Boston captain Zdeno Chara, the health and well-being of their fallen teammate was the sole focus of the Canadiens’ squad as everyone’s thoughts were on No. 67 and his family.

“We’re all like brothers here. You never want to see something like that happen to someone, whether it’s a teammate or an adversary. I haven’t seen the replay, and I’m sure it’s easy to say things and make arguments, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t change the situation,” admitted Habs’ center Scott Gomez, offering up his take on the night’s events.

“Our main focus right now is Max,” finished Gomez. “We’re also doing our best to think about the next game, if nothing else because that’s what Max would have wanted.”

While no one knows just yet what the outcome will be for the Bruins hulking defenseman, Chara, in the wake of news of Pacioretty’s concussion and fractured vertebrae, Canadiens’ sniper Michael Cammalleri weighed in on the matter.

“I don’t know what Chara was thinking, what he felt or what his awareness was on the ice. I can’t comment on his intent,” expressed Cammalleri. “There are two types of hits in hockey – the kind that are strategic and tactical, designed to get the guy off the puck and make a play, and then there’s the kind when you catch another guy in a vulnerable position and try to inflict some damage. It’s how a lot of people are taught to play when they’re young, and it makes it a tough mandate to change that attitude.”

Well known for also bringing a robust and physical style of play to the game with every shift, defenseman P.K. Subban was quick to point out the importance of knowing when the timing is right to deliver a big hit.

“I do my best to make checks in open ice, because against the boards or near the benches it’s a lot easier for both players to get hurt,” explained Subban. “You obviously need to be aware of where you’re going on the ice and who’s on the ice with you, but that being said, players need to have a certain level of respect for each other and take responsibilities for their actions. Right now, all our thoughts are with Max in the hopes that he can have a speedy and full recovery.”

While he may have to make due without the services of one of his most dynamic forwards for an undetermined period of time, it was clear that Canadiens head-coach Jacques Martin's primary concern was for the health of his young player rather than how the team would cope in his absence.

“These are some of the hardest moments to be there for. What’s comforting is our medical staff and the quick reaction and care they always make sure to provide,” admitted Martin. “My first concern is for him to get his health back, not as a player but as a human being. We just hope he’ll be able to recover and eventually come back to his career.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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