The friendship between Miroslav Satan and Zdeno Chara is based on many mutual factors, as friendships are. They’re both Slovakian, they have played together for Slovakia in international competitions–including most recently at the 2012 World Championship, where Chara wore the C and Satan the A as Slovakia took home the silver–and were once teammates for the Boston Bruins, plus Satan served as the best man when Chara married his wife Tatiana.
It looks like that could be all over now.
Satan is pretty resentful after Chara put some big hits on him in November when their KHL teams played against one another. Here’s a video of the two hits. Chara is #33 in red and Satan is #18 in white.
The first hit looks a bit late, considering Satan had let go of the puck before it happened. But on the second one, which is about 55 seconds into the video, Satan seems to have a momentary lapse in judgment by keeping his head down in the neutral zone. Unfortunately, that leads to a big collision that must’ve taken the wind out of him because he needed a moment to get up again.
In the direct aftermath of the hits, Satan was steamed.
“I have played hockey for 30 years. I can tell a clean hit from a bad one. If it would have been a clean one, I wouldn’t be cut,” he said at the time.
Later he told Czech sport reporter Roman Jedlicka that the injuries went a little deeper than just a laceration.
“Zdeno risked the life and health of someone who he calls a good friend. I’m not saying he wanted intentionally to hurt me, but he knew that was me and that I didn’t see him. [The] plate between the sixth and seventh vertebrae in my neck is displaced by 4.5 mms [about 0.177 of an inch] into the spinal canal…I may have been paralyzed,” he said.
Thank goodness he wasn’t–paralysis is no laughing matter–but this seems like such a sad reason for a deep friendship like that to end. Perhaps the two of them can patch things up with some deep conversation over a few brews and then reach a point where they can hug it out and bury the hatchet.
The good news is that Satan is interested in doing just that. The bad news is that this divide even had to happen in the first place. If there were no NHL lockout, these hits would never have happened because Chara wouldn’t even be in the KHL, so Chara and Satan’s friendship would remain fully intact. It’s just one of the many unintended consequences of this continuing charade.