December 1, 2009

Stupidity on ice

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

I haven’t written a “Why the NHL is dumb” post recently and this will have to be your fix since the league hasn’t really dropped the ball that badly so far this season. But there was two instances of a player being completely brain-dead during last night’s slate of games and one of them actually involved quite possibly the best player in the league, Alex Ovechkin.

You see, AO isn’t necessarily the toughest guy on the ice, or the biggest, or the best checker for that matter, but he can be quite aggressive at times. But last night, for no good reason, he intentionally tried to hurt another player and got the worst of dumb hit. After lining up Carolina defenceman Tim Gleason for a knee-to-knee hit — a potentially serious knee injury risk — Ovechkin suffered the worse of the blow and had to be helped off the ice. He even received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for his stupidity.

Why a player the calibre of Ovechkin would try this sort of bush league move, I have no idea. But I hope for his attempt to hurt an inferior player on an inferior team, he misses some time, either by suspension or injury, for intentionally trying to take out Gleason.

But Ovechkin wasn’t even the biggest idiot of the night; not by a long shot either. Nope, that (dis)honour goes to Keith Ballard of the Florida Panthers.

While some people get may get frustrated after allowing an easy goal, others can take their anger out on their sticks and/or goal posts. The only problem was that the idiot Ballard swung his stick and clobbered his own downed goalie, Tomas Vokoun, right in the side of his face.

Ballard didn’t stop there either after connecting on his first try. He then took another swing, actually hitting the post on his second attempt and breaking his stick. Then, it gets even better (read: dumber): Ballard skated off the ice while Vokoun was still lying there, awaiting medical attention. Now that, is why ice hockey players are considered some of the dumbest athletes in any sport.

By the way, Vokoun was carted off the ice after ten minutes and was taken to hospital. He is reportedly OK after getting some stitches near his ear.

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