Friday, November 09, 2007

Bruins lose Ward to questionable hit

The Bruins may have lost another key player to a concussion, the result of a cheap-shot hit to the head.

With 4:43 left in a frustrating 2-1 loss to the Canadiens last night, Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward was blindsided by an unprovoked elbow to the head delivered by Francis Bouillon. The Habs defenseman came out of the penalty box, skated in behind Ward and made the hit far away from the puck.

Ward fell to the ice, where he remained face down for a few minutes. A stretcher was brought on the ice, but Ward eventually stood up with the aid of teammates and was helped off to the locker room.
This was a scary one last night, as Ward was motionless for a few moments and twitched on the ice when the trainer came to his aid.

After a difficult season last year, Ward's had a terrific year for the Bruins so far, picking up difficult minutes and keeping the goals against down. Boston's been one of the league's real surprises and he's been a big part of that, and this is one of those situation where, with Patrice Bergeron and Ward both out, the team could really slip in the standings.

There's just not enough depth in Beantown to overcome two significant losses like this, which is tough to take for a franchise having a difficult time attracting at the gate.


At 1:11 p.m., November 09, 2007, Anonymous PPP said...

I have been waiting for the outcry over this hit since I saw it last night.

A very dirty play from a guy that has had a questionable incident or two against the Leafs.

It was actually reminiscent of the elbow that Jack Johnson threw at Steve Downie in the WJHC but obviously made much more contact.

Although judging by the terminology used on TSN last night this hit won't see any discipline.

At 1:20 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Did anyone get a clear view of the incident? I certainly didn't, but I wondered if maybe on widescreen it was visible. Certainly the angles shown last night don't show anything on my TV.

So I still can't see how Bouillon would've purposely thrown an elbow on that play... there was simply no point, he was rushing back into the play from just taking what could've been a very costly delay of game call, and Boston still had the puck. It seemed like an inadvertant play in which both players weren't paying any attention to the other.

So can someone direct me to a clear video of the incident? Because I haven't seen one yet.

At 1:24 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Frankie Bouillon is 5'8" and Aaron Ward is 6'2". So there's 6" that Frankie has to make up for to land an elbow to the head. Basically, his elbow has to be at his ear level.

At 1:52 p.m., November 09, 2007, Anonymous PPP said...

When did hockey start being played standing straight up?

You could see the hit on the corner of the screen on the TSN highlights last night.

saskhab - So because you could not discern a reason for Bouillon to hit Ward there couldn't have been any hit?

At 1:53 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Ward wasn't exactly part of the play; there should be zero reason he's hit at all, whether it's an elbow or not.

At 1:56 p.m., November 09, 2007, Anonymous Rico said...

The play was visible in HD/widescreen from the "end of the rink" camera, might have been cut off in SD/4:3. It looked pretty damn intentional from that view, Bouillon's elbow was up and out and he popped him on the way by.

At 2:07 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger ninja said...

dirty play from a dirty player

At 2:10 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

PPP>> No, because there was no reason to hit him I don't see why Bouillon would've thought in neccesary, hence I thought it had to be incidental contact, like when two players turn in opposite directions and end up colliding.

The corner of the TV shots showed nothing except that the two somehow hit each other, if the widescreen view shows a flying elbow, then yes, by all means look into discipline.

I really don't understand why Bouillon felt the need to elbow Ward in the head, and if he indeed did, then he's both an idiot (Boston was pressing for the tying goal and he needed to get back into the play) and cheap (obvious reasons).

I just want to see a view that shows it for me. I haven't yet.

At 3:47 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Anyone want to try explaining to me again how allowing fighting leads to less dirty play? Please use small words, because I'm kind of slow.

At 3:57 p.m., November 09, 2007, Anonymous Karina said...

Near the end of the video, around 10 seconds left. Thanks to CoutNY on Kuklas for the link.

I dunno... doesn't look like there was malicious intent to me, but it's a strange hit.

At 5:37 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger Jean-Francois said...

This is obviously not an elbow - look at the video posted by Karina. It just looks like a freaky accident. Ward was not looking - this guy has no peripheral vision or what? In any case, he skates right onto Bouillon's shoulder. In fact, Bouillon is barely moving when the hit takes place...

At 8:30 p.m., November 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At what point do the Bruins start dispensing their own justice, since the NHL lacks the sack to protect players.

At 9:16 p.m., November 09, 2007, Blogger Adam C said...

The clip doesn't show enough for me (but thanks, Karina). It looks like Bouillon isn't even looking at Ward, and Ward just runs into his shoulder by accident as both are focussed on the play.

But it's possible that Bouillon lined him up, and is looking away on purpose to avoid getting a penalty.

Either way, I don't think it was an elbow, at least...

At 1:50 a.m., November 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's stories like this that remind me why I loathe journalists.

With qualifiers included in the story indicating it was a "cheap shot" "blindside" "unprovoked elbow", it reeks of crass manipulation, not objective reporting.

Without a clear view of the play, a "report" of this type is essentially rumourmongering - and unfortunately, typical of the so-called professional writers in our daily newspapers.

Pathetic. Stick to facts. Whoever wrote that should be fired. And anyone buying into the skew is a stupid sheep.

At 6:33 p.m., November 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I saw of the hit, it looked more like a collison as Bouillon directly left the penalty box to get back into the play as the Canadiens were 2 player short. I did not see any malicious, flying elbow. I am not a Canadiens fan nor am I a Bruins hater.

Monsieur Parafect.

At 8:34 p.m., November 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before the start of the Bruins vs. Sabres game tonight, NESN showed multiple angles of the hit. One of them, from an angle in front of Bouillon, shows Bouillon flicking out his elbow, which is not apparent from the other angles. It is very slight and if it hadn't happen, I don't believe there would have been a hit. A very near-miss, but not a hit. Hopefully it'll make its way onto the internet so we can debate it.

At 10:23 p.m., November 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone surprised James writes this?
He picked the Habs 13th and rates the Bruins higher than Montreal.
Maybe the hit would get some attention if the Bruins weren't a freaking after thought joke of a franchise that would be better served in Hamilton or Winnipeg.

At 1:33 p.m., November 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the footage I posted about two posts up:

The angle I was referencing is at about 1:15. I've only seen this angle on NESN. Thoughts?

At 3:11 p.m., November 11, 2007, Blogger Adam C said...

Definitely not an elbow. His arm moves because Ward hits it.

...still can't tell whether or not it was an accident. Should we just give Bouillon the benefit of the doubt?

At 3:58 p.m., November 11, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It is difficult to tell what's happening there. Ward claims it was dirty and there was some movement from Bouillon, and I haven't seen anything from the Habs player yet.

I'm inclined to think there might have been a last second reaction. It is a really, really strange play.

At 4:45 p.m., November 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey James,

Bouillon says he accidentally knocked him out:

The part that gets me is that they collided with enough force to knock out *and* concuss Ward, but Bouillon keeps on skating forward like nothing ever happened. If he wasn't aware of Ward, I think the collision would have caught him by surprise. I think he put his arm out a little bit thinking that he was being slightly obnoxious, probably trying to annoy Ward. I don't get the impression that he was headhunting by any means, just trying to be a pest.

Ward's back in business on Thursday against the Leafs, so all's well that ends well.


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