By now some of you (hopefully most) have heard about Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount’s and the sucker punch he delivered to an unsuspecting opponent after their loss to Boise State. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a video of the incident:
What does this sucker punch have to do with hockey? Well, many hockey fans remember an incident that took place during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The culprit was Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker, who sucker-punched now-former Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. Here’s the video (this one is in super-slow-motion):
Ironically, Walker and Ward will be teammates for the upcoming season. Ward was traded to the Canes by the Bruins this summer, forcing the two combatants to put this incident behind them.
Getting back to Blount’s incident for a minute…
Today, the University of Oregon announced that the star running back, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and recorded 17 touchdowns, has been suspended for the rest of the year.
The NHL did not suspend Walker for his sucker-punch, a questionable decision by any measure. Walker, the villain of the series, ultimately scored the series-winning goal in Game 7 that eliminated the Bruins from the playoffs and sent the ‘Canes to the Eastern Conference Finals..
So now the debate begins, which of these two sucker punch incidents was worse? Well, there will be a lot of sides to this argument, and perhaps a few people will be fence-sitting, I’ll try my best to solve this issue by providing a tale of the tape.
The Villains: Scott Walker F, Carolina Hurricanes; LaGarette Blount RB, Oregon
The Victims: Aaron Ward D Boston Bruins; Byron Hout DE, Boise St.
Time of the Incident: Walker Suckerpunch: 17:13 of 3rd Period; Blount Sucker Punch: postgame handshake.
The Result: The NHL Fines Scott Walker; Oregon suspends Blount for the rest of the 2009 season.
While Walker didn’t get suspended after the incident, he still doesn’t get my vote in the final verdict; for one reason. Blount sucker punched Hout during the postgame handshake and lets not forget the aftermath of the incident, where he went after a Boise State fan.
Despite the NHL being somewhat lenient, I wouldn’t imagine they would tolerate Blount’s conduct if he had been wearing skates for the ‘Canes (or any of the other 29 teams).
The Final Verdict: Blount is declared the winner, by a knockout.