The NHL absolutely made the right call by not suspending or fining Zdeno Chara for his hit on Max Pacioretty. It's unfortunate that Pacioretty was seriously injured, but there was nothing wrong with the hit itself. As long as you have hitting in hockey, actual physical contact, there are going to be injuries, some of them serious. Especially when someone the size of Chara is involved.
But, as expected, the media reaction (which dictates public reaction more than people would like to admit) has gotten so out of control that politicians are weighing in with their manufactured, convenient displeasure and a major NHL sponsor, Air Canada, is threatening to take its dollars away. Don't for a second think the suits at Air Canada are concerned about the health of millionaire athletes. They are concerned about public perception. Right now, people from all walks of life are positively outraged over a sport that has always been violent and are like a bunch of braying sheep being led over a cliff of hysterical public opinion. Ah, but there's nothing like a self-righteous moral crusade once in a while.
As people continually tune out real life issues and politics, a trend that has been increasing decade after decade, they occupy all their free time with entertainment, of which the NHL undboubtedly is, nothing more. That's where people make the mistake of pretending like the injustice or violence that takes place on the ice is the same as if it took place on their streets or in their neighbourhood. When you take the game that seriously, you could realistically forget that an athlete has already consented to a reasonable level of violence when he agrees to take part in the sport and accept compensation for it. People who get punched in the head on the street are not expected to accept a "reasonable level of violence", but NHL players are. That's why there are virtually no legal prosecutions taken against players except in extreme cases where the act is so violent that it surpasses reasonable limits, such as the Todd Bertuzzi case.
The Chara hit is nowhere near this level, despite the severity of the injury. People have the convenience of watching the video in slow motion and making judgments about intent (which is ridiculous when you stop to think about it for a moment), but hockey is a fast game and Chara made a split second decision to make a hit. Yes, it was obstruction, but the Pacioretty injury could have happened just the same as if he had the puck or not. Should Chara be punished just because he's bigger and stronger than Pacioretty? If you want to spread blame, why not do something about the stanchions that pose a hazard to players. Either remove it and replace the glass there with netting, inset it a foot so it's out of the way or pad it more so the impact is less.
The fact that the police are investigating this is undoubtedly due to the public outcry. I'm quite confident that they will quickly find there is no basis to prosecute. In fact, it's a waste of their time and public resources.
The only way to eliminate head injuries is to eliminate hitting. Or you ban players the size of Chara. Or you simply throw in the towel and realize that hockey is too dangerous and ban the whole sport. In its stead, we could have a playoffs that consist entirely of the video game NHL11, played by fat slobs who's only worry of injury would come from sore thumbs and tired eyes. Of course, they would have to be well compensated (natch) but think of the trauma and horror we will have saved the public from.