The Carolina Hurricanes received a huge boost on Monday afternoon when it was announced that rugged forward Scott Walker will not be suspended for game six against the Boston Bruins.
In the dying moments of what was a physical Game Five that Boston won 4-0, Walker (who is no stranger to confrontation) skated towards Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward and threw a right cross that apparently broke Ward’s orbital bone. After looking into the incident it was ruled by the NHL a non-sucker punch, which meant that Walker escaped a suspension but was still fined $2,500 U.S.
“I accept the league’s decision,” said the 14-year veteran, whose team is still winning the series 3-2. “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.”
This controversial altercation took place with only 2:47 left to play when Canes forward Matt Cullen got into a shoving match with Ward. That’s when Walker came over to stick up for his teammate and in the process knocked out Ward.
"In reviewing what I saw, I just didn’t like what happened…I just don’t think there was any need for that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He sucker-punched him once coming into the scrum when (Ward) was involved with another player. And then he dropped his gloves and sucker-punched him.
Not surprisingly, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford had a different view of the matter. Rutherford believes that his team has taken several cheap shot from the Bruins all series long and that they were just answering back. With so much on the line Tuesday night for Game Six in Carolina, don’t expect the Bruins to pay special attention to roughing up Walker.