No matter what happens at this year's IIHF World Hockey Championships in Switzerland, the only chatter that will happen for years to come will be over the incident yesterday between Slovakian defenceman Tomas Surovy and goaltender Jaroslav Halak. With the Czech Republic leading 7-0 in the third period, New Jersey Devils' forward Patrick Elias one-times a Karel Rachunek pass between Halak's legs for the Czech's eighth goal. It was at this point when Surovy appears to have lost his mind.
To the video:
So my question to you, my faithful readers, is whether or not Tomas Surovy, a former NHL defenceman, attempted to swat Halak in the head with his stick, or simply attempted to hit the post with his stick?
I'm leaning towards a poorly-timed release of frustration that resulted in Surovy clipping Halak's head. Halak seemed bewildered after it happened, but Surovy doesn't react. Instead, he continues to destroy his hockey stick.
Now you may be thinking that I am contradicting myself, but I still feel this is a very unfortunate accident. For starters, if Surovy really wanted to hammer Halak, he could have. Surovy really only clipped the top of Halak's helmet, so it appears that this may not be intentional. He could have, after all, hit him square in the backplate of the helmet or the neck or the back or anywhere else he chose. But he only clipped the top of Halak's helmet.
Others have suggested that since there was no apology from Surovy, he meant to hit Halak. My question to that is a huge "why". This is Halak's first action since Montreal was bounced unceremoniously from the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he is, in my estimation, as good or better than Jan Lasak in net. Hitting Halak in the head on purpose would only serve to divide the dressing room for an already-frustrated team.
According to Hockey Night In Canada radio, found on Sirius and XM satellite radio, the thought is that Surovy simply took his frustration out by swinging for the post. And missed. Badly. Really badly.
I have to agree with that. There is no benefit whatsoever for Surovy to injure his own teammate, let alone one of his best players, if Slovakia is going to do anything in this tournament or any future tournament. Surovy would be committing career suicide for himself if he purposely swung his stick at Halak.
Secondly, look at where Surovy's stick connects with Halak's helmet. If you're swinging a stick with the purpose of hitting Halak, would you really use the shaft of the stick near the hands to make contact? If you were sending a message, would you not swing the stick so that contact would be made near or with the blade? If Surovy was aiming for the corner of the post and the crossbar, he either needs glasses or a longer stick. Either way, though, the swing was for something further away from Surovy than Halak, and the only other thing behind both players was the net.
Look, I'm not defending what Surovy did in any way. To clip your goaltender with a two-hand swing will obviously result in some major questions being asked. But to suggest that he did it on purpose? You need a lot of proof to convince me of that.
And I'm not convinced.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice (especially you, Surovy!)