December 03, 2010
Buffalo Sabres forward Tim Connolly(notes) has been the personification of "injury-plagued" during his 10-year NHL career: Broken knees, a concussion, injured feet and groin muscles apparently made of overcooked spaghetti.
But until this season, he had never suffered an eye injury while attempting to dance like NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. In fact, we can only assume this is NHL history being made.
Connolly attended a charity event organized by Sabres and U.S. Olympic goalie Ryan Miller(notes) on Nov. 21 that featured players strutting their stuff on a catwalk. Two days later, former Buffalo player-turned-ESPN-hockey-analyst Matthew Barnaby alleged on Twitter that Connolly injured his eye when he was "popped" by teammate Derek Roy(notes) with a punch at the event.
After a mini-scandal was sparked, Connolly's coach and teammate quickly defused the "sucker punch" story, claiming that Connolly's eye lacerations came from a dancing accident.
On Friday at Sabres practice, Connolly told the Buffalo News that, in fact, his clumsy re-creation of a Shaq dance move resulted in his injury:
"I was backstage, preparing a dance move and I just fell. That was it. It was an accidental thing. It wasn't 'Roysie' punching me in the face. I don't know where that came out. Those things can snowball. ... I got a little work to do on [the dance move]. I saw Shaquille O'Neal doing it on TV. It needs a little work."
Does he have any angst for Barnaby? Said Connolly:
"There's no hard feelings there. It's the job of the media to try to get the scoop, the early scoop on things. Sometimes the right story doesn't come out. It's just part of it. That's part of the deal."
Hopefully no longer part of the deal, for the Sabres' sake: Any of their players awkwardly attempting to do something like this: