NHL Playoffs: Game 6 may get testy for Hurricanes, Bruins
RALEIGH ó Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker will not be suspended but was fined $2,500 by the NHL on Monday for throwing a punch that may have broken a bone in Boston defenseman Aaron Ward’s face.
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told The Associated Press that the automatic suspension given to Walker was rescinded during a hearing with league disciplinarian Colin Campbell. It was ruled the hit was not a “sucker punch.”
“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.
Tempers flared in the final minutes of Boston’s 4-0 victory Sunday in Game 5 when Ward and Carolina’s Matt Cullen began shoving in front of the Bruins’ net. Walker skated in and hit Ward with a right cross that knocked the defenseman to the ice, and was given a misconduct, a fighting major and an instigator penalty with 2:47 remaining.
Boston coach Claude Julien said after the game that team doctors feared Ward had a broken orbital bone.
“In reviewing what I saw, I just didn’t like what happened. … I just don’t think there was any need for that,” Julien said. “He sucker-punched him.
“I don’t care what people say about, ‘Ward should’ve protected himself.’ He had no intention of getting involved,” he added. “We asked our guys to stay composed and not fall into that trap, and he just did that. A guy with Walker’s experience should know better than to sucker-punch a guy.”
Julien isn’t worried about the possibility of the Bruins retaliating against Walker during Game 6 tonight.
“If that’s the way the game’s going to be played, that’s the way we’ll play the game,” he said.