Work in Sports
'I'm still in shock at what I did'
McSorley suspended indefinitely for slashing Brashear
Posted: Wednesday February 23, 2000 11:34 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) --Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins was suspended indefinitely Tuesday by the NHL for a bloody, stick-swinging hit in the closing seconds of a game that left Donald Brashear of Vancouver unconscious and twitching on the ice.
McSorley was suspended pending a hearing Wednesday in New York, the NHL said Tuesday.
Brashear was diagnosed with a concussion and was alert and walking in the dressing room after the game Monday night, a 5-2 victory by Vancouver. He was released from the hospital Tuesday.
"I apologize to Donald Brashear and all the fans who had to watch that," McSorley said. "I embarrassed my hockey team. ... I got way too carried away. It was a real dumb play."
Police, deluged with calls from angry fans, said they will consult with the NHL. A team of three Vancouver police officers is investigating.
"We have a situation here where it would appear, or that it's been alleged, that there was a fairly vicious attack by one person on another," police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan said.
She said police have not yet interviewed Brashear or McSorley and she doesn't know how long the investigation will take.
Canucks general manager Brian Burke, once the NHL's chief disciplinarian, said the police should stay out.
"Leave this stuff on the ice; leave it to the National Hockey League," Burke told Vancouver radio station CKNW. "We don't need the Vancouver police department or the RCMP involved in this."
McSorley had been trying to goad Brashear into another fight, and his hit came with 2.7 seconds left. The two-handed slash to the right temple, with the stick fully extended, sent the Vancouver forward reeling backward. His head struck the ice and blood flowed from his nose.
"That was sickening to see," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "I haven't got another word that I can use."
Trainers rushed to Brashear and the player was removed on a stretcher.
"I'm still in shock at what I did," McSorley said. "I have to come to terms with what I did. ... I've done that with so many guys, so many times, but I don't know what happened."
McSorley, one of the NHL's notorious enforcers, was once known as Wayne Gretzky's protector.
He and Brashear fought just two minutes into the game. Brashear got the best of the brawl, and McSorley challenged Brashear again with 7:38 remaining in the first period. But Brashear skated away, leaving McSorley with a double-minor and a misconduct.
"I've never been a part of anything like that or witnessed anything like that," Boston captain Ray Bourque said. "There is no way to justify it."
In 1993, the NHL suspended Washington's Dale Hunter for 21 games for a blindside check of Pierre Turgeon after a goal in a playoff game. It was the longest suspension for on-ice violence.
"You play the game and you expect to play it hard, but there is no reason for that," Crawford said. "There's no room for that. There's no place in hockey for that. It was a despicable act and I'm sickened by it."
Vancouver forward Markus Naslund urged strong action from the league.
"When things like that happen, you worry about a life," he said. "The slash was bad enough to, I think, kill someone. The league has to make an example. We have to put a stop to things like this."
The brutal hit prompted Vancouver goalie Garth Snow to go after McSorley. Referee Brad Watson restored order and the game was declared over.
Fans threw debris at McSorley as the Bruins left the ice. McSorley was given a match penalty for attempting to injure and a misconduct.
Boston coach Pat Burns said he did not send McSorley after Brashear.
"I certainly wouldn't ask a player to do that," Burns said.
Late in the first period, Boston goalie Byron Dafoe left on a stretcher after Brashear fell awkwardly onto him. Dafoe grabbed his right knee and Brashear was called for interference.
Naslund scored a power-play goal 1:30 into the game and the Canucks added three more first-period goals to match a season high for goals in a period.
Vancouver improved to 5-2 since the All-Star break and won its third straight game for the first time since October.
The Canucks are nine points behind San Jose for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Vancouver has three games in hand on the Sharks.
Dafoe was replaced after surrendering two goals on four shots. He returned six minutes later, only to be injured soon after.
Bertuzzi gave Vancouver a 5-1 lead with his second goal 10:45 into the second period, but left with a thumb injury after sliding into the boards less than three minutes later.
Bourque played despite a strained neck and scored the Bruins' second goal with 3:28 left. Sergei Samsonov had Boston's other goal.