Puck Daddy has been all over the now-rescinded suspension of Carolina Hurricanes badass Scott Walker, who was originally scheduled to sit out Game 6 for this “fight” with Boston’s Aaron Ward. And I think it was a good decision (for once) by Colin Campbell and the NHL. It’s not a sucker-punch, as everyone keeps calling it.
Watch the original feed–Ward cross-checks Carolina’s Matt Cullen (No. 8 in white) in the face after Cullen shoots the puck; Cullen’s nearly defenseless. Then the camera pans away. When it comes back, we see Cullen nearly flying out of his skates, and Walker on the scene, looking like an angry mother cub. He’s ready to go. He drops his gloves, and suddenly Ward decides that violence is not the answer. But Walker says “ready or not” and drops him with a solid right hand anyway.
When Walker had his hearing with Campbell, the NHL’s discipline czar, this is what he said.
“Based on what was said on the ice as I was dropping my gloves, it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation,” Walker said in a statement issued by the team.
The bottom line for me is that Ward, who now might have a broken orbital bone, was acting all coy while trying to stir something up and it blew up in his face–literally. I’m all for violence when it comes to protecting teammates or negotiating with prostitutes. People are typically much better behaved when the prospect of bodily harm is presented. But sometimes it’s just too late to play nice.