Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I saw it on tape, and it looks awful. The sad part is people see this, little kids see it, and they think maybe that’s the way professional guys act. It’s not something I’ve ever done, and it’s not something I’ll do again. I’m terribly sorry.”
-Keith Ballard of the Florida Panthers on the Vokoun incident. More from Keith by Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel.
via Reid Cherner & Tom Weir of Game On Blog at USA TODAY,
If Ballard’s swing had felled an opponent, the call would be out to have him banned for the season. Just because his stupidity hurt only a teammate is no reason to go lightly on his punishment. He needs at least a couple of weeks off the ice.
added 12:42pm, from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Yes, what Ballard did was stupid. But it’s a stupid action that’s commonly done in frustration and accepted as the norm in the NHL.
But it’s easy to be almighty and righteous and pile on Ballard—Hey, who’d be stupid enough to smack his own goalie, right? It’s also unfair.
added 1:10pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Suppose an NHL player wound up and took a two-handed swing with his hockey stick, baseball-style, which connected with another player squarely in the face.
Suppose that injured player received a laceration on the ear and was forced to leave the game on a stretcher.
What would be the penalty?
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Ballard didn’t talk to the media after tonight’s game, which is understandable considering what he went through with accidentally smacking goalie Tomas Vokoun in the head with his stick and then having the winning Thrashers’ goal score on a shot off his stick.
I feel bad for him personally.
Yes, what he did was stupid, and unneccessary. But I see players smashing their sticks on the crossbar or post after a goal or after a loss all the time. It’s as common in hockey as fighting.
That said, I wonder if players around the league will think twice now before doing it. Bryan Allen said after the game: “I’ve done the same thing—break a stick on the post—and I didn’t even think twice. Obviously I won’t do it again. I’m sure he won’t either.
I give Ballard credit for coming back and playing. If it was me and I had skated off the ice in shock and horror at what happened, I’m not sure I could have come back on the ice again that night.
Everyone was supportive of Ballard concerning the incident.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Although the NHL rulebook does not specifically stipulate a fine or suspension for kneeing, supplementary discipline can be applied at the discretion of the commissioner.
And you’d have to think that’s exactly what will happen, given that Georges Laraque of the Montreal Canadiens recently received a five-game suspension for his knee-on-knee hit that injured Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall. One big difference was that Gleason came back to play the rest of the game (Kronwall’s out for at least a month), while Ovechkin looked to take the worse of the hit, leaving the game and not returning.
Ovechkin also received a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding last week when he drilled Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres head-first into the boards. Ovechkin did not receive supplementary discipline for that hit, but likely won’t be that lucky this time around.
Although NHL vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell would not say whether Ovechkin will face a hearing, he did say that Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard will not be suspended for hitting his own goalie, Tomas Vokoun, with a two-handed baseball swing in the Panthers 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.
“It will be on every sports highlight show for the next week,” Campbell said. “If that’s not enough of a punishment…”
more Ovechkin and Vokoun talk…
via the CP at TSN,
Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was accidentally hit in the head by the stick of teammate Keith Ballard in the opening period of Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Vokoun had a laceration to his ear but was alert when he was placed in an ambulance and taken to a local hospital, a Panthers spokesman said.
The incident occurred after Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal at 8:54 of the first period, knocking in his own rebound. In apparent frustration, Ballard swung his stick at the net, inadvertently striking Vokoun in the head.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
During an early intermission Wednesday night, it looked like BankAtlantic Center was being invaded by the Rangers as fans dressed in New York blue streamed down the aisles to their seats.
Before Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, Stu Siegel and Cliff Viner, the Panthers’ new owners, greeted fans walking into the arena—making sure to also introduce themselves to fans wearing Penguins gear.
With all the transplanted northerners as well as snowbirds making South Florida their winter home, Siegel and Viner know there are hockey fans in the region. And they want to convert them into Panthers fans and have them return to the arena—even when their hometown teams aren’t there.
``I think we have an under-marketed asset, with all the hockey fans down here,’’ said Siegel, originally an Islanders fan from New York. ``We have all these people from Canada, Michigan, Philadelphia, New York down here. But they’re not Panthers fans. We haven’t given people enough to cheer for, except for 1996 and the excitement of a new team. That’s worn off.’‘
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
So who gets the blame? The Panthers, sure. But a lot of that blame has to go on Reebok. They are the ones, I’ve been told, who did most of the designing. Of course, these are the same folks who thought it was cool to put ‘AFC East’ on all of the Dolphins (and Jets and Patriots, etc) sideline apparel.
Some Panthers jackets simply have Eastern (as in Conference, not the defunct airline) on the back. Like that means anything to anyone but them.
The Reebok people aren’t real hip to what looks good. So it’s not surprising that Reebok (it’s not RBK anymore right? No.) came up with this plain look. The jersey we saw in March looked fake, unfinished. No way this was what they were going to unveil.
Yet that’s what they rolled out. No wonder the Panthers kept it a secret and didn’t have a big photo shoot beforehand. They wanted to bring it out and move on.
via George Richards of the Miami Herald,
The one negative out of Florida’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Red Wings on Friday was that Stillman—who had goals in six of eight games coming in—sustained a left knee injury. Stillman was driven into the boards midway through the second period, and coach Pete DeBoer said he will be out for some time.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
So many of you have been asking to see what these new third jerseys look like, well, this is pretty close.
The team has done a good job of being secretive about these jerseys and this is what I would call an ‘‘artists’’ rendition*.
Booth has struggled this season, but watching the camp and also watching David Booth I could argue that he is the best pure “sniper” the Americans have and his slow start is a testament to this. Snipers are by their nature streaky players. Right now he is ice cold, but if Booth gets hot at the right time you would probably want him on your top unit. Booth is the Joey Mullen of this group.
-Dwayne (Eklund) in his Team USA outlook today. Dwayne has David Booth on the taxi-squad (there isn’t one) and by his remarks, is oblivious to the fact that Booth has been out with a concussion since October 28th.
Not the first time Dwayne has showed his lack of hockey knowledge and won’t be the last.
added 8:02pm, Craig Custance of the Sporting News spoke with Booth recently. You have to feel for the guy and let’s hope the NHL does something about the hits to the head.
added 11/20/09 7:36am, Well what do you know, Dwayne changed his post without mentioning any correction. This folks, is how he deceives people…
Booth has struggled this season, but watching the camp and also watching David Booth I could argue that he is the best pure “sniper” the Americans have and his slow start is a testament to this. Snipers are by their nature streaky players. Prior to his injury he was Ice cold, but if Booth gets healthy and can get hot at the right time you would probably want him on your top unit. Booth is the Joey Mullen of this group.
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