In the World Hockey Championships of 2009, Tomas Surovy and the Slovakians were down 7-0 to the Czech Republic when Jaroslav Halak replaced the starter (Lasak). The Czech's decided that 7 wasn't enough, and before too long scored an eighth goal on the Slovaks. This was very unfortunate for Halak, as his teammate Surovy had apparently had enough. He swung his stick in frustration at the goal post, missed and struck Halak in the back of the head. Luckily for both players, the stick glanced off Halak's helmet, and Surovy was able to skate around the back of the net and take another good hard shot at it with his stick. See the video for this here:
Earlier this week in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Keith Ballard of the Florida Panthers decided the Surovy may have been onto something, and after Ilya Kovalchuk scored a go ahead goal midway through the first period he gave it a shot. Ballard two-handed goaltender Tomas Vokoun in the side of the head, lacerating his inner ear. Vokoun had to be removed from the game on a stretcher. Ballard, who was likely just aiming for the post and not trying to take Vokoun's head off, hit his goalie in the head and then proceeded to take another swing at the post, this time hitting his mark. He then skated off the ice without even stopping to make sure that Vokoun was alright. I mean, why would he, Vokoun was only laid out in the net just seconds after being struck in the head with the stick that Ballard hit him with. See the video for this one here:
Now, I have heard many people defend Ballard for just being 'passionate' about the game and showing his frustration by trying to bang it out on the post. But why does that justify this action? In my opinion, it doesn't. Have passion for that game, but don't be a poor sport about losing (or missing coverage as was likely what was going on in his head when he hit Vokoun) and don't EVER swing your stick anywhere near another players head.
The very next game, Ballard decided that he needed to make up for hurting Vokoun (his own goaltender) and decided to take a run at the opposing goaltender. In the game against the Colorado Avalanche, Ballard took a run at Craig Anderson late in the overtime period. According to the commentators in the game, Ballard was flying in on a rush on his backhand and 'lost his edge' and ran into Anderson. Watching the replay, anyone who know about momentum knows that Ballard's upper body betrays certain laws of physics had he simply just lost an edge. If you watch the view from behind the net, it is clear that Ballard's upper body moves towards the goaltender when he is said to have lost his edge going around the net. Despite the best efforts of the FSFlorida commentators to sway all blame away from Ballard, my unbiased opinion (I could care less about either team to be honest) leans towards a deliberate act on Ballard's part to get into Anderson, throw him off his game, or possibly remove him from the game. See the video for this one here:
And for the record, Anderson had to leave the game, Colorado put Peter Budaj in for the last 45 seconds of overtime and the shootout, Budaj put up a good fight, but came out with the shootout loss.