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'Just happy that I can walk'

Brashear remembers little of attack by McSorley

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Posted: Tuesday February 29, 2000 12:27 PM

  Donald Brashear Though he will be out at least three more weeks, Donald Brashear is already looking forward to returning to the ice. AP

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- One week later, Donald Brashear remembers nothing of the brutal stick attack and does not understand why it happened.

"I never thought I'd see a player acting like that toward another player," the Vancouver Canucks forward said Monday of the stick-swinging hit to the head by Marty McSorley. "I wonder what was going through his mind to do a thing like that, but it happened."

Brashear's head smashed against the ice, leaving him unconscious. His body twitched and blood streamed from his nose. He said he remembers waking up, but isn't sure where.

He was diagnosed with the most serious kind of concussion and has headaches every day. He cannot exercise for at least two weeks, and his status will be reviewed then.

Brashear, wearing a blue baseball cap, switched between English and French at a news conference, his first since the Feb. 21 game. He thanked hospital personnel and hockey fans for their support.

Asked whether he recalled taunting the Boston bench before he was struck, Brashear said: "There's not much I remember. But I remember that was a game that I had to play hard, where I was just doing my job. I remember we got into a fight right off the start. Those are all things that I have to do during a game."

Brashear was in the midst of his best season. He defended his behavior on the ice, calling fighting and taunting part of the game.

"In a game you try to make people lose their focus by any different way," he said. "Certainly not be hitting someone in the head with your stick."

McSorley has apologized profusely. The Boston defenseman was suspended for the rest of the regular season (23 games) and the playoffs. He must meet with commissioner Gary Bettman before he is reinstated.

Brashear takes consolation in still being able to function and think about a return to hockey.

"I'm just happy that I can walk right now and be on my feet and see my 4-month-old son, and keep living," he said. "But I'm not going to feel as good as when I'm going to be able to put my skates back on, give a hit or take a hit or get into a fight for my teammates. I'm not going to change the way I play the game in any way."

Brashear said McSorley telephoned him but he wasn't there to take the call.

"I don't think I would have talked to him," he said.

While conceding most NHL players wear their helmets with the straps loosened, Brashear insisted he was wearing his helmet properly. He said the way he was moving and the way he fell after being struck accounted for his helmet coming off.

"So I was still protected by my helmet when I fell," he said.

Brashear had little to say about the investigation by police, who are considering assault charges.

"I'm not really concerned with that," he said. "That's not something I care about, that I think about every day. What I think about the most is getting healthy and getting back in my skates."

Related information
Brashear still hurts; awaits more tests
NHL's image further hurt by McSorley incident
Exiled McSorley gets scant support from fellow players
Donald Brashear wonders what McSorley could have been thinking. (89 K)
Brashear says physical play is part of the game, but only to a point. (91 K)
Brashear says he's glad to be on the mend. (175 K)
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