Call rescinded, Chara will be back on duty

The Bruins’ Zdeno Chara is tackled by a few Sabres during a skirmish at the end of Game 5. The Bruins’ Zdeno Chara is tackled by a few Sabres during a skirmish at the end of Game 5. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / April 25, 2010

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For Bruins coach Claude Julien, to even consider that his captain would be banished for Game 6 was a non-issue.

From his spot on the visitors’ bench at HSBC Arena Friday night, Julien had a perfect view of the late-game slash Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad delivered to the back of Zdeno Chara’s leg. So even after Chara turned and threw several gloved punches at Gaustad, sparking a pileup that would see the 6-foot-9-inch strongman tagged with instigating, fighting, and a game misconduct by referees Dan O’Rourke and Tim Peel — misbehavior that resulted in an automatic one-game suspension pending review — Julien had little worry of the defenseman being relegated to suit and tie tomorrow night.

“To be honest with you, I wasn’t even worried,’’ Julien said yesterday at TD Garden. “I couldn’t see that happening. It didn’t take them long to rescind that stuff. It just didn’t make any sense. The guy gets slashed behind the leg with a two-hander and he just went down. He still has his gloves on and takes a pop, then three guys jump him. Where does all this stuff come from? I don’t know. It’s just common sense. The league looked at it. They felt he didn’t deserve it. They took care of it.’’

Yesterday, the NHL rescinded Chara’s instigator penalty, making him free to play in Game 6.

“There wasn’t a fight,’’ Andrew Ference said. “An instigator is when there’s a fight. The guy clearly slashed him on the ankle when he was going up the ice, if you really want to talk about an instigator. There was really no fight, so it’s a non-issue.’’

After the Bruins’ 4-1 loss in Game 5, general manager Peter Chiarelli filed a request with the league to review the incident. The penalty was rescinded under Rule 47.22, which states that “the suspension shall be served unless, upon review of the incident, the Director of Hockey Operations, at his discretion, deems the incident is not related to the score, previous incidents in the game or prior games, retaliatory in nature, ‘message sending,’ etc.’’

“He shouldn’t be suspended for that anyway,’’ Johnny Boychuk said. “If they did, that would probably be a joke.’’

After Chara turned and engaged Gaustad, Cody McCormick and Craig Rivet joined the action. McCormick emerged from the melee with blood on his forehead. Gaustad was called for a slashing minor. Also receiving penalties were McCormick (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (leaving the crease), and Bruins forward Miroslav Satan (roughing, 10-minute misconduct).

“The one thing I’m not going to do is whine. There’s enough [whining] going on as it is,’’ said Julien, when asked if McCormick deserved a penalty for being the third man in. “I’m not going to be whining about all this stuff. We can take care of ourselves. This is a team where we stand up for ourselves. I don’t think there’s any reason here to start crying wolf and everything else. We’ll go out there, do our job, and let our play dictate what’s going on here.’’

Chara, playing without a cage Friday for the first time in the series, skated 27 shifts for 25:33 of ice time. He had four shots and was credited with two blocked shots. Chara is averaging 29:05 of ice time, most of any player in the playoffs.

After Friday’s game, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff did his best to lobby for a Game 6 suspension for Chara.

“It’s a serious risk of an instigator when you come in throwing punches,’’ said Ruff. “They’ve got to take a hard look at that. Anything in the last five minutes is stupid to do. I like the fact that we had one grab him around the knees, one guy grab him around the waist, and another guy grab him around the neck. And the big man went down. You get in a situation like that, everybody knows the rules. You can’t start slugging people. That’s exactly what Chara was doing. Our response was good to that play.’’

Yesterday, Julien dismissed Ruff’s words as coaching tactics.

“I’ve heard and read Lindy’s comments,’’ Julien said. “Hopefully, it’s his way of taking pressure off his team. If not, it’s a lot of whining. Simple as that. Every coach has his tactics. You just worry about yourself. As I said [Friday] night, we seem to be the team that’s doing bad things. They seem to be the team that’s on the nice side of all that stuff and they do nothing wrong. It’s tactics. Those are things in the playoffs that coaches use, hopefully to their advantage. I don’t pay much attention to it.’’

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