McKenzie: Ballard's high-stick on Vokoun won't be punished

Bob McKenzie
12/1/2009 1:10:57 PM
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Let's get a couple of things straight on Keith Ballard's near decapitation of his own goalie Tomas Vokoun.

One, the NHL never thought of suspending Ballard for the high-stick on his teammate. It's funny how many people wondered if that might happen.
Two, the Florida Panthers never thought of any type of internal discipline for Ballard. And a lot of people have wondered if that might be a possibility.

I am sure the NHL and the Panthers believe Ballard's punishment for this misdeed is simply being mortified that his temper tantrum resulted in a pretty significant injury to a teammate. Just having to watch that highlight over and over and over again should be punishment enough for Ballard.

The good news is that there doesn't appear to be any injury to Vokoun beyond the ear-area laceration.
Vokoun apparently felt well enough on the plane last night to talk to Ballard and tell him to forget about the incident, although Vokoun might have mentioned that Ballard owes him a number of free dinners.

As for their teammates, as soon as it became apparent Vokoun was going to be okay, it would be fair to say the Panther players are having much fun at Ballard's expense and the ribbing has already begun.

That's probably the best therapy for Ballard, who was naturally devastated after the incident.

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Bob McKenzie


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