Panthers’ Tomas Vokoun Pities Keith Ballard For Whacking Him in the Ear


December 4, 2009

Panthers' Tomas Vokoun Pities Keith Ballard For Whacking Him in the Ear You  know you're a good person when your teammate nails you in the head with his hockey stick and nearly cuts your ear off, but you don't hold a grudge.

Such is the case for Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who was the unfortunate recipient of Keith Ballard's frustration after a goal got through during the first period of Monday's game against the Thrashers. According to the Miami Herald, Vokoun feels bad for Ballard — not the other way around.

"I think he felt so bad," Vokoun said on Wednesday after being released from the hospital, where he was treated for a lacerated left ear. "It was an accident. I'm sure it's a lot easier for me to have a cut ear because he feels so bad. It's not a big deal. It's a freak thing. I get mad myself so many times and throw my stick myself and I'm fortunate I never hit anyone with it."

Ballard, attempting to whack his stick against the goalpost, hit Vokoun in the side of the head instead. Vokoun was taken off the ice on a stretcher, and according to the Herald, he sought out Ballard on the flight home to let him know there were no hard feelings.

"I had no idea [I hit him]," Ballard told the newspaper. "I saw it on tape and it looks awful. Sad thing is people see this, kids see this and think that is how pros act. It's not something that I've ever done and will ever do again. I am terribly sorry."

Vokoun will return to the ice when he can fit his mask comfortably over his ear.

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