A somewhat scary incident played itself out during the third period of the Anaheim Ducks-Minnesota Wild game Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Late in the third period with the Ducks leading 2-1, Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler was dumping the puck into the offensive zone when his hard-hitting slapper bore down on referee Dennis LaRue like a heat-seeking missle, drilling him up high. LaRue went down immediately but after a few moments to collect his thoughts, appeared no worse for wear and like a warrior, soldiered on and continued his work.
As you can hear from the audio, it certainly appears that those in attendance were cheering about LaRue being hit by the puck, as the Wild faithful were irate over what they perceived were several bad calls throughout the game against the home team, which, even as a Wild fan, I find particularly distasteful, something NBC Sports Network analyst, Brian Engblom also felt, given his reaction.
In the end, LaRue skated away from the close call relatively unscathed — but likely very, very sore — and the Wild fans in attendance were able to satiate their bloodlust and articulate their unhappiness with the home team’s recent nosedive in an embarrassing manner. I guess nobody wins in this situation. Well, except for the Ducks, who held on to beat the reeling Wild by a score of 2-1.