The Canadiens and Bruins responded in words and action that very night in the third period and following. The 24-hour sports reels let their opinions known. Canadiens management responded. The NHL did. Air Canada and yesterday Via.
But hockey's biggest vehicle and most important collection of voices has yet to have their full time on the soapbox.
Hockey Night in Canada goes to air just before the Canadiens face the Penguins today. They will show that game as well.
Usually I would watch this on RDS. But as someone interested in where the debate on the Max Pacioretty hit and its effect on future NHL violence will go, I think I'd better listen up to what the voices of the nation will tell the nation to think.
The blunt end of the argument is bound to be coming from Ex-Bruins collaborators Don Cherry and Mike Milbury. Cherry will be of particular interest. The man of a million crusades has made unnecessary hitting one of his longest crusades. Hitting that happens on icing plays, that is. It will be interesting to see if he is a man of principle or a man incapable of sequestering his allegiance and distaste for the parties involved. He has surprised before, so you never know.
More subtle, and probably more influential in the long run, are the views of the long-time hockey journalists. Those that can wrap their thoughts in a bit of eloquence. They will interview their handpicked opinions and they'll interview each other. Between all this we'll get a picture of the bloc of opinion that could actually move the NHL.
Ron MacLean will be central of course, as he is the ringmaster with hands in every spinning pie. He has actually given us a short preview of what he thinks. It's an interesting preview, with a few puzzling turns, such as:
"When I hear "Pacioretty could have ended up in a wheelchair," it makes me think we go too far teaching such fear. A wheelchair life is different, but it could be better than the one before and until we grow into a less superficial take on the gift of life we'll run aimlessly trying to interpret the forces of life, from floods and fires to crimes and accidents as though they give technical and instructive shape to the abstract."I'm sure his thoughts will become much clearer after we've heard him debate Stephen Brunt and sit beside Don Cherry.
I think, like me, many who care about this issue seriously are still not quite ready to dive headlong into worrying about backpasses gone wrong or blatantly missed scoring opportunities. The memory of events and the significance of the decisions ahead mean that thoughts are still whirling about on this.
I'll be watching the game with interest as always. But as much interest will be directed to the debate and discussion that will be happening in all available moments between plays.
Have a good Saturday. All the best to Pacioretty and family. Go Habs Go.