ALSO ON SLAM!
Monday, February 21, 2000
CANUCKS 5, Bruins 2
Canucks-Bruins game ends with ugly slash
VANCOUVER (CP) -- Even veteran players who may have thought they had seen it all, were shocked.
With less than five seconds left in regulation and the Canucks cruising to a 5-2 victory, Boston Bruins defenceman Marty McSorley closed in on longtime nemesis Donald Brashear and took a two-handed swing at the Vancouver forward's head, connecting with his right temple.
Brashear dropped like a rock, hit his head and lay with only his legs moving every once in a while as he was treated, then carried off on a stretched, blood flowing from his nose.
Later, Brashear, who was diagnosed with a concussion, was alert and walking around in the dressing room. He was to be re-evaluated throughout the night and in the morning.
"It made me sick to my stomach," said Canucks forward Markus Naslund. "I've never seen anything like that in my life.
"He seems to be a lot better now but ... I don't have words for it. You're scared for his life. When things like that happen, you worry about life. The slash was I think bad enough to kill someone and falling back ... I'm just happy that he's OK."
McSorley dodged most of the media after the game. But one reporter who caught up with him said the veteran apologized over and over again, adding "It was the stupidest thing I've ever done."
The incident prompted an on-ice brawl, as Canucks goalie Garth Snow and several other players on the ice went after McSorley. The fisticuffs even spread to the stands, where several fights between Bruins and Canucks fans broke out.
Referee Brad Watson called the game with 2.7 seconds still left to be played.
"We couldn't believe what we saw and didn't know what to do," said Vancouver's Brad May. "It was crazy out there. I have no respect for that guy ever again. Anybody who has ever had respect for him should lose it.
"We've all gone in and seen Donald. He's our big brother out there. He sticks up for our team, he's the toughest in the league. To get hit like that, it's just uncalled for."
McSorley was given a match penalty for attempting to injure and a misconduct.
"I'm sick to my stomach," said Canucks head coach Mark Crawford. "That's exactly how I feel. I'm in a little shock.
"It was sickening to see. There's not another word I can use. You play the game, you expect to play it hard but there's no reason for that. There's no place in hockey for that. It was a despicable act and I'm sickened by it."
The Brashear-McSorley battle started early in the game when the two went toe-to-toe at centre ice. Brashear clearly won the fight and let McSorley know it by pretending to wipe his hands clean on his way to the penalty box. The two continued to spar throughout the game.
Late in the first period, Brashear, battling with Kyle McLaren in front of the Bruins' net, fell awkwardly on Byron Dafoe's legs and the Boston goalie had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher with what was later diagnosed as a locked knee.
Dafoe was on crutches after the game.
Bruins head coach Pat Burns said he couldn't see the stick-swinging incident from the bench, but added it had been a chippy game.
"All I recall is Donald coming over and flexing his muscles at our bench and that probably had something to do with it," said Burns. "It was a pretty rough game up to there.
"You can't say that something like that is going to happen. But it was certainly a tough game. They came at us and we responded."
Canucks captain Mark Messier was first to get to Brashear after the incident and said the forward was unconscious.
"It was pretty bad," said Messier. "I was really worried about Donald. I saw him get hit and I saw his head hit the ice and I knew he was going to be in trouble."
Messier, a longtime teammate of McSorley's during the Edmonton Oilers heydey, said the incident shocked him.
"I think everybody's surprised when anything like that happens," Messier said. "Everyone for the most part has a lot of respect for other players in the game. But we certainly don't need in the game. It was tough to see."
Todd Bertuzzi, who scored two goals for Vancouver before leaving the game in the second period with a dislocated thumb, said the league needs to take severe action against McSorley.
"It's disgusting what happened," said Bertuzzi. "The league has to do something about it.
"When one of your biggest guys goes down like that, it just takes the heart out of everyone in here. The game is secondary. It means nothing anymore."
Naslund, Greg Hawgood and Matt Cooke also scored for Vancouver and Andrew Cassels recorded three assists.
Sergei Samsonov and Ray Bourque replied for the Bruins, who are winless in their last five games.
The Canucks are 5-2 since the all-star break.