Vokoun’s injury one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen

One of the first things they teach young-uns when they are learning to play the sport of ice hockey is stick responsibility. When you have that piece of wood…or graphite…in your hands, it can make for a very dangerous weapon if not dealt with properly. Even if the potential injury caused is unintentional.

Last night during the Thrashers 4-3 win over Florida, I…along with so many of you…saw what can happen if this basic responsibility lesson is not adhered to by way of the nasty accident that happened after Ilya Kovalchuk’s goal. Obviously upset from being beaten by Kovy on the breakaway, defenseman Keith Ballard sought to take his frustration out on the goalpost with his stick.

Moments after Ilya Kovalchuk's goal, Florida defenseman Keith Ballard accidently strikes goalie Tomas Vokoun in the head with his stick (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Moments after Ilya Kovalchuk's goal, Florida defenseman Keith Ballard accidentally strikes goalie Tomas Vokoun in the head with his stick (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

It never made it there…instead it found goalkeeper Tomas Vokoun’s head.

Certainly, Ballard is not the first hockey play to attempt to sacrifice a stick on the altar of the goalpost after a goal was scored or game lost…chances are good that he won’t be that last either. But in his blind anger, he did far more damage to a teammate than the equipment. Unintentional, of course…but it’s still the product of a lack of governance over one’s passions. Something we’ve all been guilty of.

I was spending the game with the guys from The Blueland Chronicle last night in the front row of section 317, right above where the incident took place. The five of us were standing, cheering…even laughing somewhat due to the way Kovalchuk’s goal was scored…as you would expect. But when we saw Vokoun hit the ice…and then lay there motionless…we, like the rest of Philips Arena, grew eerily quiet.

It was a surreal moment…and to be honest with you, it was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever witnessed in person at a sporting event. And that includes the Braves game in old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium back in the summer of 1993 when Fred McGriff’s was welcomed to Atlanta with a fire in the press box. I was also at the Falcon’s game a decade and a half ago when quarterback Jeff George and coach June Jones had that infamous scrap on the sideline.

Last night, however, was even more bizarre to me given the circumstance and the way it happened.

As for the Panthers’ goalie, he was carted off after several minutes on the ice and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with a severe ear laceration. Fortunately, a CAT scan revealed no further damage to the 33-year old Czech and he was able to re-join the team at the airport for the flight back to south Florida.

Vokoun was carried away on a stretcher and take taken to St. Joseph's hospital where he was treated and released (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Vokoun was carried away on a stretcher and take taken to St. Joseph's hospital where he was treated and released (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Johan Hedberg, the goalie on the opposite end of the ice, said after the game, “I just feel so sad for Vokoun and the other guy who did it…you don’t wish that on your worst enemy. I hope Tomas is going to be good”.

To be sure, the person who feels the worst about this is his teammate, Ballard…who needed a few minutes to gather himself in the locker room before he was able to continue. He finished with 20:21 TOI and was a –1…but I’m sure that and the loss to the Thrashers doesn’t come close to the regret he has to feel from the injury to his goalkeeper.

However, as I stated above, stick responsibility…and also management of one’s temper in heated situations…is a key element to success on the ice and off as well. It just took one second to lose one’s cool…and we saw the ugly result.

Thankfully, it wasn’t even more ugly than what it was.

Toys for Tots Campaign

The Atlanta Thrashers and Atlanta Hawks are once again teaming up with the United States Marine Corps to make Christmas a happy time for children in need. Fans that attend games are asked to help out in this worthy and charitable cause by bringing new and unwrapped gifts as they enter games. Those who do will be given vouchers good for a pair of tickets to upcoming games

Donation centers will be outside of Philips Arena before and during the five games in the month of December as well as other locations around town. For more information…simply click here.

And Finally…

As I indicated, last night I was honored to be able to watch the game from The Blueland Chronicle Perch, located in the first row of section 317. Mortimer Peacock, Big Shooter, Razor Catch Prey and their friend Juan Valdez made the experience a fantastic one for sure. French Catalogues was unable to attend, unfortunately.

Of course, as with anytime the Rawhide/TBC consortium gathers for an event, security and the local police department were given fair and advanced warning…seeing as “bizarre” things just seem to happen when we are together.

I’m not sayin’…I’m just sayin’….

131 comments Add your comment

TableHockey

December 1st, 2009
1:33 pm

First??

Our old pal Erik Christensen got put on waivers by the Ducks today.

Rawhide

December 1st, 2009
1:41 pm

Our old pal Erik Christensen got put on waivers by the Ducks today.

Before any one asks….PASS!

JS

December 1st, 2009
1:47 pm

Rawhide – I say punt, pass, & kick!!

Spud Webb

December 1st, 2009
1:53 pm

Yes, we don’t want him back. lol, bet he wouldnt be loafing and crying if he was on this team now. Then again we wouldn’t be playing like this with Christensen still here.

Mifield

December 1st, 2009
2:24 pm

Ballard has certainly made history. I feel sorry for Vokoun, but he’ll be ok in a few days. Ballard? I don’t think so. This was a certifiable Jack*ss XX scene.

Glovesave29

December 1st, 2009
2:28 pm

Marc Savard just re-upped with the Broooons for 7 years / $30M

I have been looking at the replay of this over and over. As a goalie, it scares the bejezzus out of me. I once got smacked in the head with a similar swing as a player was swiping at a rebound I had given up as I was in the butterfly position. The blow shattered a molar and I spit up chicklets all over the crease…but I cannot see how Vokoun’s ear was cut. The most protection on the mask is in the front for obvious reasons. They are also designed with minimal flat areas to aid in the deflection of the blow from the puck or stick. There are no bolts or screws not covered up on the inside by thick padding. Across the brow and from ear to ear is the thickest and most dense padding in all of the mask. Ballards stick did not break, so that removes the chance of flying shards of fiberglass. The mask is Kevlar, so that doesn’t splinter. The mask did seem to move, thus “ripping” the ear as it was turned sideways. The only thing I can surmise is that the ear was pinched between the mask and the back plate, but that seems rather unlikely. Its a mystery to me, but I wish the guy a speedy recovery.

As for Ballard…suspension. He used a stick for a weapon. Gotta send the message that this is not acceptable. For those who argue that he got his own players…lemme ask this – is a soldier any less dead when killed by enemy fire as opposed to friendly fire? I have heard arguements that Ballard already feels bad enough, so that is ample punishment? That too is silly as what of the criminal who hurts or kills someone, but later feels remorse. Does that remove him from his due punishment? Not in my mind. Sure, I am using extremes to prove my point, but you get the drift. Intent and reality are vastly different here, but the end result of all this is he used his stick as a weapon and should be so punished by the league.

As for Christensen…,.no, NO a THOUSAND time no!!! All I can add is Eric – meet Karma. She’s a b****h, ain’t she?

KovyRules

December 1st, 2009
2:29 pm

The TSN “Your Call” on the Vokoun/Ballard incident was four pages long before I even got home from the game – those Canadians were more fired up about “the incident” than anything else in hockey last night. Most called for a league suspension. IMO, Ballard’s guilt will fix any future problems. He did disappear down the tunnel within seconds. When he finally did return to the bench, one of the Panther’s coaches (Jim Hulton, I think) immediately went and patted him on the butt. I’m pretty sure Ballard was showing an appropriate level of remorse back there or he wouldn’t have got that greeting at the bench. However, I think a real man and teammate would have stayed out there right beside Vokoun.

Back to attendance, I was really disgusted with last night. There couldn’t have been more than 2,000 there. Yes, Monday is a lousy night. Yes, it is right off a holiday. But that gets you down to 10,000 in the seats, not 2,000. Wake up, Atlanta, this team is highly entertaining! And wake up, ASG, do whatever it take to fill the top bowl! Rutherford, you sit right near me every night and I know it kills you to see all those empty seats. Stir up your buddies for some promo dollars and ticket discounts NOW.

Having said that, the 2,000 of us that were there still make more noise than 19,000 most nights in Calgary or Toronto, so well done, fellow Thrash fans!

Christy

December 1st, 2009
2:39 pm

Hello all.
I found something that has been so rare in recent years, that I wanted to make sure no one missed the sight – positive words about Atlanta from Buccigross in his 44 pearls of wisdom column this week. I nearly fell over in my chair.

“43. The Thrashers are absolutely for real. You must understand that right now. They are well coached, getting good goaltending, have a dynamic defense and score goals. But I would make my best offer to Ilya Kovalchuk now. He turns 27 in April. Eight years at $8 million a year seems about right, and if you want to throw three of those smaller numbers at the end of the deal to get the cap number down, fine. If Kovy doesn’t take a deal like that, he obviously wants to play somewhere else, which is his right. I would then entertain other offers. If that’s the case, I would demand a top-three forward, a top-six forward and a No. 1 draft pick, or I would keep him and ride him into the playoffs and maybe a playoff round win (which might change Kovalchuk’s mind). But that’s a big gamble to take if Atlanta is offered a juicy package.”

World Be Free

December 1st, 2009
2:50 pm

Let’s hope people show up Thursday against the Islanders.

As for Ballard, he’s a good young, clean player. I am sure he’s sick about what happened.

If it comes down, it will be the FIRST suspension of a player who is gulty of injuring his own teammate!

Big Shooter

December 1st, 2009
2:59 pm

It was the Chronicle gang, my friend, that was honored. Still can’t believe we got the mighty and powerful Rawhide up in the cheap seats! And it only took two years…

Alan R.

December 1st, 2009
3:03 pm

Wake up, Atlanta, this team is highly entertaining!

You know it. I know it. We all here know it.

The rest of Atlanta will need a lot more convincing than just 20+ games played in one season. What you will notice is more fans showing up if the Thrashers are still very much in the playoff race going down the stretch. Numbers may decline again at the beginning of next season, until the ownership and management can prove that they will work to consistently put a good product on the ice.

Viking

December 1st, 2009
3:06 pm

Our old friend Niclas Hävelid also had a severe “earcut” about a month ago. “It is at least still located where it is supposed to be” or something similar was his comment about his multi-stiched ear.. Then it was talk about that the design of the ear protection of the helmet was poor. It contributed to the injury. It appears that Vokoun’s mask has some flaw too – even if unlikely.

KovyRules

December 1st, 2009
3:07 pm

The debate rages again now that Bob McKenzie has agreed there should be no suspension: http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/bob_mckenzie/?id=300670

Sara, you mentioned a shot analysis on the last blog string. Can you grace us with that when you can? Thanks, you stat master!

Juan Valdez

December 1st, 2009
3:14 pm

Rawhide thanks for the shout out!!

Sara

December 1st, 2009
3:24 pm

KovyRules – the spreadsheet is on my laptop at home so I’ll upload it as soon as I can. Speaking of – I used to host that kind of thing on geocities, which is now defunct. Anyone have another webhosting suggestion for an excel spreadsheet? Gracias, Merci, Danke, etc etc etc.

Bob

December 1st, 2009
3:27 pm

you know, I didn’t even think about suspension, but the goaler is right. It was careless use of stick that resulted in injury. Suspend him for 3 games, he could’ve killed the guy. Too many dmen and goalers smash their sticks, it’s childish and needs to stop.

I think Sara is right on about the scoring chances we give up. This idea that the shots against number that we give up not being a factor is the epitome of whistling through the graveyard. It will bite this club in the long run, and the NHL season is nothing if not a long run. I remember in Sat night’s game, and later in the game, even though we were up 1-0 at the time, the stats where we had given up 6 scoring chances and we had only 2 scoring chances, one of which luckily went in. That luck won’t keep up. Kovy and Max need to start playing some d in our zone, at least one of them every shift, that stuff is going to bite us as well.

five_hole

December 1st, 2009
3:31 pm

I agree that Ballard deserves a suspension. The game is played with emotion and we love a celebration after someone scores, and I know players have to deal emotionally when the opposition scores. But the fact remains that you’re responsible for your actions. If you as private citizens accidentally injure someone else, you have liability for that and can be charged with a crime.

Regardless if he gets a suspension of not, Ballard will have to deal with injuring his teammate and that has to be the harshest punishment of all.

Good to know that Vokoun made the flight back home and I do hope he’ll be OK.

Bob

December 1st, 2009
3:31 pm

Also, speaking of bizarre stuff seen at games, was anyone else at the Falcons’ game in the old Fulton County Stadium where a parachute team was dropping in with the game ball, and the guy with the ball got blown off course and got hung up on a guide wire about 100 feet up in the air . . . dude swung back and forth a couple of times right in front of our upper deck seats until the parachute untangled from the wire and the guy dropped 100 foot to the ground, can’t remember for sure hearing if he died or was just paralyzed, but that was one freaky scene.

Smoothie

December 1st, 2009
3:31 pm

Now that football season is just about over — college at least (and thank God!) — attendance should pick up a bit. However, I don’t see any harm in droping all upper deck prices outside of the first 5 or 6 rows to $15-25 (depending on the night of the week) for the rest of this season. Do that and watch the people come out of the woodwork. It won’t bother me in the least eventhough I have spent $27 / tkt for 13 games. I’ll get my share of discounted uppers, plus I’ve already gotten several perks by being a partial STH. I just want a fuller looking building if not a sellout and some added noise / buzz / excitement.

Release the tkt inventory!! Unleash the fury!!

Rawhide – as usual, thanks for a swell time hangin’ out at Taco Mac after the game…always a pleasure and an honor!

Rawhide

December 1st, 2009
3:31 pm

It was the Chronicle gang, my friend, that was honored. Still can’t believe we got the mighty and powerful Rawhide up in the cheap seats! And it only took two years

Big Shooter – Next time…you all join me in my “far more closer to the ice than yours” seats. :lol:

Juan Valdez - Pleasure meeting you last night…and thanks for the coffee.

GaVaHokie

December 1st, 2009
3:40 pm

The one awkward moment that I can recall was the Thrashers first ever preseason game at Philips arena in 1999… Vladimir Vujtek took a skate to the face and bled like a stuck pig. He needed 200 stitches.

I remember the shovel team had to come out and try and scrape away the pool of blood he left on the ice. The spot was there for several games.

GaVaHokie

December 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

… just remember it was awkward because hockey “was back in Atlanta” and for some people this was their first impression of the sport… kind of a buzzkill.

Viking

December 1st, 2009
3:45 pm

Talking about emotion and celebration… Here is one video of a goalie who just saved a penalty shot. Even if this is from Czech Republic, he must have been too much American Football:

http://www.maniacworld.com/best-goalie-celebration-ever.html

Smoothie

December 1st, 2009
4:17 pm

Dude, we really need to stop posting our comments at exactly the same minute in time!! Like I said earlier, we share the same brain and I want it back…at least for a little while!!

Rawhide

December 1st, 2009
4:32 pm

Smoothie – I know…it’s spooooookie!! :shock:

And the pleasure…she be all mine, matey!!

Sara

December 1st, 2009
4:34 pm

Ovechkin’s been suspended 2 games btw.

G

December 1st, 2009
4:34 pm

Ballard should be banned for life. He was aiming at the goal about as much as I was.

NASCAR Dave

December 1st, 2009
4:46 pm

FLA always seems to have bad luck with the freaky injuries…

Jason

December 1st, 2009
4:58 pm

Nice to see you traverse the 56 steps last night, Rawhide, even though you were on the front row of 317 (I have 318 A and noticed the formerly-home jersey with Rawhide on the back). Would have said hello, but I’m not one for hero worship in public. Now if you had been the Ice Princess, I would have said hello and then you wouldn’t have updated the blog for 4 weeks.

I was all set for OT, but that game deserved to end in a not-exactly-normal way. Yes, we deserved to win, but now we’ve seen a goal scored as time expired (Bogo vs. the Caps) and with 5.5 to go. Aren’t we usually the team that GIVES UP the late goal in the period?

KovyRules

December 1st, 2009
5:27 pm

Sara, I’ve used “Google documents” a little to share spreadsheets. Go to google.com and find the “Documents” link.

Jason, it is a big swing from previous years. In the last minute I found myself thinking “I want us to score so we can deny the Panthers the freebee point”. Last year, it would have been “I hope we can hang on for that freebee point”.

Kaner gets huge points for his 1 on 4 dash into the zone and forechecking that created the winning goal.

Smoothie

December 1st, 2009
5:41 pm

Little boy Kane is quickly becoming Big Daddy with his play of late.

LAC

December 1st, 2009
6:13 pm

I remember when we traded Christensen, Ducks GM Bob Murry said this…

Eric is a good player, we have good players here and he will improve with them, he is a great addition to our team… No waivers… Gee Whiz,
that sounds like a waddell move !

Another GREAT game by MAX, what an addition…

Need to keep it going Thursday night, we owe NYI a GOOD Spanking, like 6-1…

Cheers, Oh Bill Any word on Rawhide night ?

Sara

December 1st, 2009
7:14 pm

Thanks KovyRules. Here’s the link to the spreadsheet (I’ve never figured out how to do the spiffy linking thing in this format). http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0An0K4ccafirBdGJoRVc2Vm1qSnZaSGdHbkphdWZxSVE&hl=en

Here’s the main things to know from the spreadsheet (aside from I used really simple terms to clarify how I classified the data and for anyone to look at and understand without hockey terminology).

The total shots against from last season to this one over the first 24 games has gone up by 44 total shots. There are fewer shots from the circles and from the slot. Unfortunately there have been 62 more shots allowed right around the net, which is as un-good as it gets.

You can also see where the goals came from last season to this season, which is obviously where the improvement has been as the team has allowed 23 fewer goals. Most of the reduction is from below the circles and the slot.

Bottomline, I think we’ve gotten by with some spectacular saves from our goalies and a whole lot of luck on top of it. The idea that the team has managed to limit many of the shots to low-risk areas is wrong. They are still playing with fire as it were and IMO are more apt than not to eventually start getting burnt really bad. It isn’t going to take opposing coaches long to figure out what I just did.

KovyRules

December 1st, 2009
7:39 pm

Wow – nicely done, Sara. That’s proof positive we’re improved in large part due to goaltending. Okay, I’m worried more about our shot deficit than I was before (and I love Opie and Moose even more!) Hopefully JA and our coaching staff catch on faster than the opposing coaches.

One important, unrecorded stat from last night – the number of times we had clear possession of the puck in our own zone but the Panthers got a scoring chance before we could clear. It will happen against hard forechecking teams like the Panthers, but last night was brutal and unsustainable. The worst case was the Moose/Schoobie/Popper mess that led to their third goal. The best case was Kaner doing it back to them on the fourth goal. As Gilbert Perreault once said “There’s three checks in hockey, forecheck, backcheck and paycheck”. Gotta get better at the first two…

Nate

December 1st, 2009
7:45 pm

Sara – Thanks for the data. There’s an old saying in sports that percentages even out (and we’ve probably all heard it). I’ve never been sold on that because sometimes they just don’t. Sometimes teams/players have those games/years where they just have luck on their side for some reason. I surely hope so for the sake of the 3R line. Geez!

KovyRules and Smoothie – I posted similar sentiments last night about Kane. Couldn’t agree more. Wish there was some way to give him an assist on Max’s goal, but I’m sure the coaches will bring it up in the locker room. Liking my decision more each day to have my Savard jersey converted to Kane.

Glovesave29

December 1st, 2009
7:49 pm

What the spreadsheet fails to mention is shots of rebounds and shots in which the goalie had a clear line of site. The reason the numbers of GAA has gone down is that we have big bodies clearing the slot for Opie and Moose to see the puck, thus leading to them being properly positioned to make the save. They are also not having to scramble to reset to face rebound after rebound after rebound after rebound…

While numbers can help to quanify the game, it really tells little of the story, especially compared to other sports. Hockey is a game of read and react, and the ability of teams to create and take away space.

Since we are playing a style that emphasizes the breakout and less on the wingers backchecking to help the D, what are our shot totals? Have they improved? What about odd man rushes? What percentage of the shots came for and against during the PP/PK…what is the disparity of PIM’s? How many of these shots come after the game has been decided?

Smoothie

December 1st, 2009
8:58 pm

Nate — good man! I’ve been thinking about getting a Kane jersey as my next one, but I’m so torn right now because I have a big man crush (who doesn’t right now?) on Rick Peverley. He’s even featured as the “savior” on my blog. Read at your own risk at thrashingbirds.blogspot.com.

Anyway, Kane IS THE REAL DEAL and I trust Kovalchuk has noticed how ferocious this kid’s drive is. In fact, Kovy could stand to take a few notes and figure out a way to exert a little more effort on the defensive end. Kane shows you can play aggressively in your own zone AND still get some good chances on break-outs that you have created yourself or helped create. Same principle applies in basketball: defense begets easy opportunities on offense. And in hockey, it certainly helps create more and easier opportunities on offense. Kudos to Kane. We’re gonna be saying that a lot over the next 10 years or so (I hope).

Sara — thanks for taking the time to compile that data, but just as many people on this blog have told me, the stats can only take you so far. Sometimes the data without the right interpretation can take you down the wrong path — lies, lies and damn statistics eh?

Anyway, while I am one in the “Scarlett” corner when it comes to the SA to SF deficit, I do feel as though a lot of those “in close” chances you’ve indicated on your spreadsheet are not necessarily good chances if a) the D-man has taken away the inside lane to the front of the net as well as the passing angle and b) the goalie is in position to challenge the shot in the hight paint and force the shooter to take and make a perfect shot. Unfortch, the spreadsheet can’t tell us that.

I would be willing to bet (and your spreadsheet supports this by showing fewer chances are being yielded in the slot) that a lot of those shots from “near” the net are from outside of the post / goalie and not from the middle of the slot or even between the circles. And we are certainly better this year when it comes to sweeping away rebounds or loose pucks when our goalie can’t control the shot.

Where we struggle more I think is with the corraling of said puck and breaking out efficiently from our zone. Once we iron our some of those kinks, and everyone gets more comfortable playing together, I think we have the potential to be a very dangerous team. But if that shot deficit starts to get on the north side of -8 or -9 by the midway part of the season, then we could be in trouble. My money is on JA to make sure that does not happen.

Rawhide

December 1st, 2009
9:15 pm

Jason – er, uh…yeah. 317. I should have just left it as “way on up there”. :grin:

Anywhoooooo… please do tap me on the shoulder and say “howdie” next time. I’m not worthy of “hero worship”…public or not.

Sara

December 1st, 2009
10:03 pm

Glovesave – I had thought about the implications of PP shots and rebound shots. It’s certainly possible to compile that information but extremely time-consuming.

Smoothie – shots near the net means the shot was shown being right in around the crease area (I used ESPN’s gamecast which shows the position of shots taken). They had to be down below the circles and close proximity to the designated crease area for me to count them as shots right near the net. If the shot was taken more directly under the circle, I called it a shot below the circles, not by the net.

The spreadsheet is simply a numerical reflection of the actual picture painted on those gamecasts. And there is no way I can think to interpret those numbers that indicate anything other than we are giving teams way too many opportunities in a very dangerous area – which is reflected by the % of goals allowed that come from those close-in shots.

Let’s look at a different set of relationships – which is the conversion rate of shots taken in a given area to actual goals scored. Basically dividing the number of goals from a given area by the total number of shots taken from that same area.

8% of shots from outside the blueline have resulted in goals (usually of the weird monkey-puck variety). The rest of the conversion rates are as follows:

Above the Circles – 5%
Wide of the circles – 0%
In the circles – 5%
Between the circles – 7%
Below the circles – 3%
Around the net – 16%

Compared to conversions from last year:

Outside the O-zone – 8%
Above the circles – 2%
Wide of the circles – 25%
In the circles – 7%
Between the circles – 19%
Below the circles – 2%
Around the net – 28%

So the conversion rates are about even or lower this year – which would support the ideas of better goaltending overall and perhaps better sight-lines for the goalies. But in both cases, the area with the highest conversion rate is shots around the net – they are both statistically and just plain intuitively the most dangerous shots a team can allow – and we are giving them up in spades. It doesn’t matter what style of play the opponents use, what the player strength is for each side, or what the goal differential of the game happens to be – those types of chances have to be minimalized for a team to be successful. Nearly half of the goals we’ve allowed have come from that area – and since GA mean a lot more than SA at the end of the day, it’s an issue the coaches need to be addressing.

StateBird

December 1st, 2009
10:13 pm

First hockey game ever attended – 1973 – innaugural season of the Flames. Playing the Flyers with Bernie Parent in goal. Parent took a slapshot off the mask (remember masks in 73?) which deflected into the seats behind the goal (no nets in those days). BOTH Parent and the fan in the stands were taken off on a stretcher. Makes quite a first impression on an 8 year old boy.

Rawhide

December 1st, 2009
10:16 pm

Cheers, Oh Bill Any word on Rawhide night ?

LAC – HA! You still on that kick? That would be a HOOT, wouldn’t it? If it were something done to recognize everyone who contributes to the blog…that’d be OK with me.

Statebird – Yikes! That must have been some scene at the old Omni.

Christy – Per your 2:39 pm post earlier…WOW! See what winning will do? Amazing, isn’t it? Thanks for finding that jewel for us!

Injun Joe

December 1st, 2009
11:35 pm

Ok. I watched the incident on Youtube before making a decision on Ballard. Was the temper tantrum childish: yes. Was it stupid: absolutley. Should he be suspended or have some league punishment administered: Most Definitely. Look at the facts and think of it as such. This wasnt a fight between two players on opposing teams. Ballard wilfully and deliberatly set his sights to apply stick to post. Innocent enough, but the way he went about it was simply irresponsible. And childish. And stupid. And he should be held accountable for his actions. He is responsible for his actions. The fact that he injured his own team mate doesnt absolve that responsibilty.
If he pulls that same tantrum at the net of the opposing goal, for say, missing a shot he gets punished. Why should this be any different. It shouldnt be, and really it cant be. His actions injured an individual and I think a suspension would be well deserved. That and the fact that he needs to understand how his actions can affect those around him. He obviously needs to mature some. He was oblivious to the fact that he hit Vocoun and continued his “beat down” of the goalpost.
I like a good fight sprinkled with sporatic hockey just like anybody else, but this goes beyond that. Just my two cents worth.

LAC

December 1st, 2009
11:59 pm

Rawhide, I really think Rawhide/Blog night would be Outstanding,
a REAL PR coup… We could all sit togather and YOU be noted as THE Blogmaster, You do The Best Job keeping all of us thinking Hockey
and wanting the Thrashers to do well… I’m for IT !

Brendan

December 2nd, 2009
12:51 am

Rawhide, thanks for the link to the “Toys for Tots” campaign. I think it’s great that the Thrashers continue to do this. Kudos to them. And the vouchers, at least in the past, turn out to be some pretty decent seats, too. Bringing a new, unwrapped toy that a child would really like to have, is one of the biggest “no-brainers” that hockey fans can do.

Segue to not using one’s brain, what Ballard did is a suspendable offense. It does reflect irresponsible use of his stick. He is supposed to have control of it. No argument there. But really, and BEEEEE HONEST here, haven’t we seen “irresponsible stick swinging” incidents, NIGHTLY. Segue to tonight’s Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks game. The game ended in a very lengthy, lengthy shootout victory for Chicago. And, what did the Columbus goalie do?

Anyone?

Anyone a-tall, says Barry Melrose. Well, while exiting the arena, approaching his very own bench, he repeatedly, (operative word,) swung his goalstick WILDLY at the boards in front of the his own team’s bench, while they were standing there, onlooking, attempting to shatter the goalstick. Now, I grant you, he did not strike any of his own players. The goalstick connected with nothing but boards. But it could have hit a teammate.

Necessary? Or unnecessary behavior? I certainly don’t mean to pick on the Columbus goalie, tonight. But BEEEEEE HONEST, how many times now, just THISSSSS season, have you seen a goaltender smash his stick after losing a shootout? By my count, off the top of my head, I’d say it’s around a dozen times. The actual figures is anyone’s guess. It’s not a stat the NHL tracks. But generally speaking, teammates … win or lose … rush to their goaltender, after the shootout, to offer congratulatory wishes or consolation support. Well, if the goaltender is doing his best Sammurai interpretation of a Hasan Chop!, the situation invites unwanted consequences. We haven’t experienced that tragedy just yet. But when it does eventually happen, will it result in a suspension? There’s no “intent” to injure teammates. It’s just irresponsible behavior with a stick. Sticks SHATTER, folks. That’s what happens to them when they break. Who can honestly say they have “control” of shattered stick situation? The stick, ostensibly, breaks the way it does. You’ve all heard the expression, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” Well, a splintered stick fragment can still hurt somebody. Imagine if it went in your eye? Allrighteee then. So, what’s the solution? To ban stick smashing? By goaltenders and forwards alike? Irrespective of intent? Regardless of outcome of the stick swinging? I don’t have the answers. All I know is … I’m glad that I’m hearing reports that Vokoun will be okay.

World Be Free

December 2nd, 2009
5:32 am

Simply said, in 40+ years of watching hockey, I have never seen anything as bizarre as the Ballard/Vokoun incident. Then the Panthers lose the game in the last 10 seconds. Musta been a quiet locker room!

As a ex-defenseman, I do not know how I would handle the situation going forward. The goaltender-defenseman relationship is so crucial to a team’s success. Ballard is probably Florida’s best all-around defenseman, he logs a lot of icetime.

This team will have to put the incident behind them. Only Moe could get away with slapping a teammate-Curly and Larry never seemed to mind.

Sara

December 2nd, 2009
7:28 am

Brendan I instantly thought about that when watching Mason react that way. The words “anger management” come to mind. But it was also interesting listening to the reaction of coaches and players around the League on NHL on the Fly last night – they all said they understood where Ballard was coming from – heat of the moment emotion. That’s a very hard thing to control from a League standpoint.

Toby

December 2nd, 2009
7:59 am

Speaking of the game on VS., I’m reading that the guys on the telecast said “they are hearing rumors running rampant right now that Atlanta is about to sign him to a long term deal.”

World Be Free

December 2nd, 2009
8:26 am

Hassan Chop!?!

One of the best Looney Tunes cartoons of all time!
“What a way for a duck to travel, under ground”

GaVaHokie

December 2nd, 2009
8:50 am

Brendan… yeah, I saw the Steve Mason temper tantrum last night, but I think he really WANTED to go down the bench and hit everyone on the team upside the head with his stick. Ballard was an accident, but I think Mason showed “restraint”. :)

He was rightfully pissed… he stood on his head, saving 9 out of 10 shots and none of his forwards backed him up. I was mad for him… especially since he’s one of my fantasy goalies.

GaVaHokie

December 2nd, 2009
8:52 am

I remember when we traded Christensen, Ducks GM Bob Murry said this…Eric is a good player, we have good players here and he will improve with them, he is a great addition to our team… No waivers… Gee Whiz, that sounds like a waddell move !

I guess all GM’s are bumbling liars… it’s all PR and pep talks.