Senators stand up for Chara

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:03 PM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Senators came to the defence of their former teammate Wednesday.

While they had only seen the hit by now-Boston Bruin defenceman Zdeno Chara on Montreal’s Max Pacioretty on replays, the Senators don’t believe the hulking blueliner meant any harm.

“He’s pretty honest and he’s physical. That’s what makes him the defenceman he is,” said Ottawa winger Chris Neil following practice at the BankAtlantic Center Wednesday afternoon.“He’s pretty physical and he finishes his checks. That’s part of the game.”

Centre Jason Spezza said he also doesn’t believe the incident was intentional.

“I really think it was more bad luck than anything,” said Spezza. “It’s a physical game, but nobody is trying to hurt each other.”

The Habs confirmed Wednesday that Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebra and a severe concussion as a result of Tuesday night's hit along the boards. Chara rode Pacioretty into the edge of the glass at the Bell Centre, and the Hab immediately crumpled to the ice.

Ottawa, meanwhile, has back-to-back games in Florida the next two days. The Senators arrived in Florida in the wee hours of Wednesday morning after a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

The club skated for only 30 minutes, without D Brian Lee.

He will be fine to suit up against the Panthers Thursday night. Ottawa plays Tampa on Friday.

Coach Cory Clouston confirmed D Matt Carkner had the arthroscopic surgery scheduled on his knee, but isn't sure if he'll return before the end of the season.


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