New Canaan's Pacioretty could return for NHL Playoffs
Updated 6:22 pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Max Pacioretty may not be done playing hockey in 2011 after all. The New Canaan native and winger for the Montreal Canadians could be cleared to play by the time the NHL playoffs start on April 13, according to head coach Jacques Martin. Martin confirmed that team doctors have stated that Pacioretty could be cleared to resume full-contact training in three to five weeks.
Pacioretty sustained a severe concussion and a non-displaced fracture of the fourth vertebra on March 8 after a devastating hit from Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara. After Pacioretty had made a play on the puck near the boards, Chara drove Pacioretty's head into the glass stanchion between the team benches. Pacioretty was motionless for several minutes before being taken out of Montreal's Belle Centre on a stretcher after the questionable hit. The NHL opted not to discipline Chara, who was ejected from the game after being assessed a five minute major.
News of Pacioretty's possible return comes as a surprise after the injury was initially considered to be "career-threatening" and it had been widely assumed that he would be shut down for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.
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The Bruins currently sit third in the NHL's Eastern Conference standings and the Canadians are in sixth, meaning the two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs in a best-of-seven series.