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More about Max Pacioretty
A first round pick (22nd overall) of the Montreal Canadiens back in the 2007 draft, Max Pacioretty has blossomed into one of the NHL’s best young power forwards.
It took Patches, as his teammates affectionately call him, and few tries to stick with the big club as he spent the better part of three seasons shuttling back and forth between the Habs and their AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, before his game finally reached a level too high to justify a trip back to the minors.
Unfortunatey for Pacioretty and Habs’ fans just as he seemed poised to take the step to stardom a massive hit by the game’s most massive player almost completely derailed his career. With 14 goals and 24 points in 37 NHL contests, Pacioretty was playing with plenty of swagger, and he was making a name for himself not only among fans and teammates, but also with other players around the league. One of those players was hulking 6’9″ defenseman Zdeno Chara, with whom Pacioretty had developed a feud.
Don’t poke the bear is a popular saying in hockey circles, and it certainly applies where Chara is concerned. The blueliner is fearsome when roused, and he took out his anger of Pacioretty when the crushed the winger along the boards by the benches, driving him face-first into the turnbuckle.
Pacioretty suffered broken vertebrae in his neck in the horrific collision, and there was concern at the time that he might not be able to return to the game at the NHL level.
A fitness fanatic, and a man of uncommon determination, Pacioretty not only came back to the game the following season, but returned with a vengeance, scoring at a prolific rate. When the dust settled on the 2011-12 campaign, he had career highs in goals with 32 and 65 points.
This year, after a slow start, Pacioretty has really started to heat up. With 16 points in 16 games he is a huge reason why the Habs currently sit first in the Eastern Conference, a nearly unbelievable surge after finishing dead last in the conference the season previous.
At just 24 years of age Pacioretty is only now hitting his stride, and with his skill-set, his size and his fearsome determination one can only speculate how high he can take his game. Fans of the Canadiens have got a gem in this guy and if management doesn’t let him slip away he should help the Habs remain a force to be reckoned with throughout the rest of the decade.