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Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) checks Montreal Canadiens right wing Brian Gionta (21) against the boards as they chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Elise Amendola

Sometimes there are things to be learned by sitting back and seeing how something flows. The Chara hit is polarized between those who believe it attempted murder and those who believe he was merely "finishing his check."

Without going into where the absurd rationality of "finish your check" comes from -- I think Howie Meeker may have first mentioned it, Don Cherry pushed it until, today, you can "finish your check" the next game, it seems -- it is interesting to note that this latest incident falls under the category "accidental or not" that many of us have long pushed as the only sensible answer to punishment.

If I accidentally high stick you or intentionally high stick you, I get a penalty.

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If I accidentally shoot the puck over the boards in my end or deliberately do so, I get a penalty.

So it should be with all hits to the head. No exception. No excuses. Chara's penalty should be automatic. The severity of the blow and intent could then lengthen the suspension if the NHL deemed such punishment appropriate, but there should be absolutely no argument about the consequences of one hurting a player as Chara did Tuesday night, no matter how the two sides choose to view the hit.

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