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Does An Attack On A Member Of Your Own Team Qualify As ‘Domestick’ Violence?

Panthers Thrashers HockeyPanthers Thrashers HockeySometimes in anger during a moment of conflict, people lose control of their emotions. What separates most of us from the degenerates of the world is our ability to not act out when we temporarily lose control.

Unfortunately for Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun, his teammate, Keith Ballard, was unable to stifle his anger after the Panthers yielded a goal to Ilya Kovulchuk during the first period of their 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. Attempting to take a frustrated swing with his stick at the goal post, Ballard’s stick caught Vokoun in the head, giving him an ear laceration and sending his fallen teammate off on a stretcher for a trip to the hospital.

(Video below)

Thankfully, Vokoun will reportedly be okay after the terrible attack, but what about next time? What about the next time Keith Ballard is unable to control his rage? Some would say that a teammate is like a member of your own family, and as we have learned, once someone engages in domestick abuse, they are likely to do so again.

Ballard was unavailable for comment, but Panthers general manager Randy Sexton as well as some of his teammates spoke up for him on his behalf.

“He’s probably pretty bummed. Nobody feels worse than Keith,” said Sexton

“After something like that, it’s difficult to come back and be completely focused,” said Florida’s Stephen Weiss, who had a goal and an assist.

“I’ve seen a couple of things happen like that. You have to contain your emotions and be careful out there,” said Anderson.

I am aware that it is probably not my place, but if I may, I would like to recommend anger management classes for Ballard, but perhaps even more importantly, it might be wise for Vokoun and Ballard to participate in some couples counseling to get to the root of what causes Ballard to direct his rage at his partner, his friend, his brother, his teammate.  That is, if Vokoun is willing to give Ballard a second chance.

One can only hope that not only will Keith Ballard learn from this experience, but maybe we can all take something away from this tragic and desperate act of aggression.

Video: Vokoun’s ear sliced by angry Florida teammate’s stick [Puck Daddy]
Afinogenov scores with 6 seconds to lift Thrashers [Yahoo!/AP]