Cops Investigate Violent Hit in NHL Game
Montreal player suffers fractured vertebra
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2011 5:13 PM CST

(Newser) – Nasty hits happen in every NHL game, but this one may be criminal. Montreal police have opened an investigation into the way Boston's Zdeno Chara took Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens into the boards on Tuesday night. The hit knocked the 22-year-old out cold, leaving him with a fractured vertebra and severe concussion, reports the Montreal Gazette. (Good news: He reportedly left the hospital today and was able to walk on his own.)

The hit did so much damage because Pacioretty went into a stanchion supporting glass around the boards. Chara says that part was accidental. He got a penalty on the play, but the league cleared him of further punishment, in part because he doesn't have the reputation of being a dirty player. Just a big, physical one: At 6-9, 255 pounds, he's one of the league's biggest players.