By Fred Wallace
Sunday, during the NHL Playoffs, Scott Walker of the Carolina Hurricanes punched Aaron Ward of the Bruins.
Swiftly, accurately, directly, severely, right-in-the-face, breaking Ward's orbital bone.
Actually, I smiled.
I smiled because the punch reminded me of something that happened nearly 20 years ago at Sault Ste Marie.
Scott Walker was a beautiful skater, give or take an Andrej Sekera, maybe the best skater that's ever played OHL in Owen Sound.
However, Walker was deemed to be small, too small to be drafted when first eligible in the OHL, and really too small for the rigours of pro hockey.
Like I said, this was almost two decades ago.
When Walker was a rookie with the Platers, the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds were the reigning Ontario Hockey League Champions.
The Soo could beat you, and once the defeat was sealed, then they'd beat you up.
One night in the Sault, one after the other, coach Ted Nolan sent out Brian Goudie, then Chris Simon and finally Tony Iob and they all tore into the Platers who were physically overmatched by the powerful Greyhounds who were putting on a wicked display in front of their adoring fans.
Eager to keep the good times rolling, Jason Denomme came onto the ice, and while not as menacing as the previous trio, he set out to intimidate Scott Walker.
Right behind the Owen Sound net, Walker proceeded to smoke Denomme and suddenly the boisterous Soo fans shut right up and the only voices heard in the building were on the Owen Sound bench and in the visiting radio booth.
I admired Scott Walker that night, and, while I don't endorse what may or may not have been a sucker punch, I still admire him almost 20 years later.
I'm Fred Wallace