Blog Entry

Ballard sticks it to himself

Posted on: December 2, 2009 3:37 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 3:55 pm

With any luck Keith Ballard’s mea culpa will get swallowed up by the one from Tiger Woods on the same day and quickly forgotten as a result.

Call it the best case scenario for the Florida Panthers and their defenseman.

Problem is there’s a lot better footage of Ballard tomahawking his own goalie Tomas Vokoun in the head, and nothing about hockey gets more widespread attention than a good old stick swinging. The mainstream networks just love them, unfortunately for Ballard. He's never had discipline problems in his career, but the image of a goalie being carried off on a stretcher after being struck works perfectly for highlight reels.
“Honestly it looked worse than it was, which is a good thing,” said Vokoun, who claimed he did not sustain a concussion. “I was telling guys I could get up and I can skate off, but they didn’t want me to move. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t drowsy they would just sew me up at the rink and it wouldn’t be such a big deal.”

Maybe, but the clip made it a big deal and it won’t be going away time soon either. For that matter, neither will the questions about the world’s most famous golfer’s incident, but unlike Woods, the Panthers and Ballard decided to face the music head on for the first time since it happened Monday.

“I think we all want to put it behind us and move on,” said Florida coach Pete DeBoer.
It helps that Vokoun suffered nothing more than a severe cut on his left ear, and that hockey teams by nature, stand behind teammates in public. Moreover Ballard is a popular player, so his state of mind seems to have drawn more concern than his victim. Kind of like when Dick Cheney shot a friend during a hunting trip and said it was the worst day of his life.

“Poor guy had some tough luck for a few games and got frustrated,” said Vokoun. “And he's apologized so many times, I had to tell him to stop. I’m sure it’s a lot easier for me to have a cut on the ear than him, he feels so bad.”

No doubt, especially since Ballard didn’t even realize what happened until he skated back to the bench and saw trainers on the ice and the replay on the scoreboard. For that matter, neither did Vokoun, who thought at first he had been hit by a knee after Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored to give the Thrashers a 2-1 lead.

What actually happened was Ballard swinging his stick in frustration, first forward clipping Vokoun, and then backhand against the goal post. 

“I think it was just built up frustration from the whole week,” he said. “We lost five games in a row, I haven’t played well and it kind of boiled over. Obviously I did not handle it a way, I just kind of snapped.

"It was stupid on my part and thankfully it was not a lot worse.”

But it may be for Ballard, who will be treated to constant reminders of the meltdown for the rest of his career.

“When you do something like this and you’re in the spotlight you have to expect it will be all over, those are the consequences,” Ballard said. “I’ve got a lot of support from guys who know me around the league in emails and texts, but for people don’t know me, that’s the impression I have to deal with.

“But I don’t need people feeling sorry for me. I brought it on myself.”


Category: NHL

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2009 4:02 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself

thanks for your input . It really got me thinking
i will def look up that read.

take care

I'm by no means a European hater
Koivu is on my wall in the basement


take care

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2009 3:10 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself

Yep we're on the same page. 

You forgot to mention when they run their skate blade across someone's skates trying to cut the laces.

Ever want to read a good book get "The Code: the unwritten rules of fighting in Hockey"  fantastic read.

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2009 9:05 am

Ballard sticks it to himself

I didn't like the hunting accident analogy but I really like the drunk Dad blaming the liquor one.

I totally agree on the instigator rule as well. Get rid of it and you won't see half the stick work going on..
I can't help but wonder if it is an enticement to get more Europeans in the NHL
Like we need more...

I think we are on the same page on this one truthfully on the rules Dept.
You want to see something ugly , look up Perezhogen slashing Stafford across the face
with Hamilton. He hit an opponent on purpose and was suspended for the year.
That's the stuff I can't stand and truthfully he shouldn't have left the ice conscious.

Ballard  has shown remorse and to Vocoun It's no big deal. It's been dealt with.
It was a total accident and I don't believe it has anything to do with stickwork in the NHL..

The knee on knee also really bothers me as well. The suspensions are not nearly severe enough.
I've had it done to me and you have no idea what that feels like when a person does that.
and you are usually out Weeks not days...

The simple truth is if you half 50% Europens in the NHL that's what brand of hockey you are going to see.
Less fighting more stickwork, kneeing  and kicking behind the play.
Not blaming them but that's how they were taught.
And when half of them are diving all over the ice as if they've been shot that makes it even tougher on an official.
If I was a ref and I was shown up with a dive, That guy  would have to be disemboweled before he got another call from me.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2009 6:49 am

Ballard sticks it to himself

You brought up a point about showing your kids that, I think that's how we as parents send a message.

I'm talking about a message to the players from the league about their conduct during times of frustration.  If you swing your stick and you don't have control over it because your so angry you should be punished.  My problem is how loose the league is with stick work in general.  I don't like sticks doing anything other than poke checks to the puck, lifting the stick, or puck handling.  Sticks are for the ice, not the body or a tool to show how frustrated you are.  I think the suspension for about two games, look there was NO intent behind this but still it's not something the league shouldn't endorse, is in order.  It's sends a message to the players that extraneous acitivities with your stick won't be tolerated, a stick can be used as a weapon and it should be treated with respect concerning safety.

I guess it comes from my look at how people vent frustration, I'm a very intense person, but I don't throw things when I get mad.  I want to succeed and have a competitive streak, but when things don't go my way I don't committ any violent acts.  Saying this is part of hockey is like a drunk dad blaming the liquor.  You're removing blame from the person and deflecting it to something else.

I have more problem with this then I do fighting, I personally believe the instigator rule was the single worst thing that hockey brass ever passed.  To tell you the truth, get rid of that rule and the extraneous stick work during play goes down I bet.

Just my opinion. 

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 4, 2009 6:43 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself


Ok, you have me thinking? I'll give you that. And that is a feat in itself
In the time that this happened. I have seen prob. 500 pucks shot down the ice after a goal
and 100 sticks broken before this incident. In fact I don't remember a goalie ever being hit like this in my life.
Do you?
When you are making your point of a good message or not by not handing a suspension I have to wonder?
 Do you honestly think a kid or anyone else is going to care whether Ballard gets 5 games or a fine?
He was a complete dummy at the time and everyone knows it.
 I've seen pro golfers  throwing Golf clubs and cursing and swearing  after a bad shot... Tiger especially
Never have seen a suspension from that though? you?
Now that's a bad message.
Point taken though and a very relevant one.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 4, 2009 5:35 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself

I see your point Frink, I'm just of the opinion that the league could stop acts like this by sending a message.  I think things like this shouldn't happen, I think you agree.  I just take a more official discipline response.  I see the merits of what you'd like to do with youngsters however, do you think it sends a good message when someone swings their stick in frustration and everyone just goes ehh, it's the game?  I don't.


Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 4, 2009 4:55 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself

I was commenting on Bradinators post in the first place.
And I also thought the Heatley comment  was in very poor taste...

I played hockey in the Danny Snyder Arena a couple of Weeks back ,
small town, close knit community.
 Nothing will hurt like the night he was lost, especially to  the Snyder family
and Heatley. Danny Snyder  was his best friend.
 So look in the mirror and think of a time when you were out with your buddies and the same thing could have happened
It sure gave me the creeps thinking about it.

none of us are perfect.

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 4, 2009 4:48 pm

Ballard sticks it to himself

Thanks for your post.
It showed someone who actually is realistic about what happened.
Vocoun is laughing it off. Ballard feels terrible.
You can't suspend someone for hurting their own teammate unless the team itself does it.

As far as the hunting accident comment, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
If you want to use that analogy, then a guy who shoots the puck high from the point and hits
someone should be suspended. I'm sure that was an accident as well.

I think it's a good example actually. Show your kid the footage and firsthand he can see what can happen when you
lose your temper and swing your stick. I think he might think twice before doing it ??

The incident will be taken care of inhouse. He will take more ribbing and insults and will
forever be know as the guy who smoked his own goalie with the stick

punishment enough in my opinion.


Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 4, 2009 8:07 am

Ballard sticks it to himself

Ballard's actions warrant a suspension.  A player was injured due to his stupidity.  Whether that player was an opponent or not is beside the point.
I understand where you're going with this but the injury doesn't matter, fact is he swung his stick uncontrollably and hit someone.  According to him he didn't even know he did it.  That's the real problem, everybody is OK with the fact that he did something in frustration that he didn't know he had done..  REALLY???!!!!

This kind of thing is too commonplace.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: December 4, 2009 8:04 am

Ballard sticks it to himself

Obviously you don't play the game....

This line always cracks me up, I bet you've never held public office but you vote.  I bet you never served in the military but you have an opinion.

What seperates hockey from all other contact sports? 

You are in fact right, I've never played hockey, but it's not unique in the sense that you should be absolved from responsibility.  If I were in the ring got mad and just threw a kick in the air that happened to hit my trainer you could bet I would've been punished.

I love hockey, but thank God Colin Campbell isn't a judge, from his track record it certainly looks like he'd accept the "she was asking for it" defense. 

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