April 06, 2010
Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard(notes) was only trying to help. In the second period against the visiting Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the puck deflected high in the air and Ballard attempted to swat it safely away with his left glove.
Unfortunately for Florida, Ballard decided the back of his own goalie's net was the safest harbor. Here's one of the worst own-goals of the season, credited to Chris Neil(notes) of the Sens against the Panthers' Tomas Vokoun(notes):
Ouch. But then again, Ballard hasn't exactly been peas and carrots with goalies this season. Consider:
Nov. 30, 2009: Ballard was furious after Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) scored a first-period goal for the Atlanta Thrashers, to the point where he took a baseball swing with his stick at the Panthers' goal cage ... and accidently struck the side of his Vokoun's head (video).
Vokoun was taken off the ice on a stretcher in obvious pain, and suffered a lacerated ear. This led to calls that Ballard should have been suspended for injuring his own teammate with a high-stick. He escaped supplemental discipline, perhaps because the NHL knew that an infamous, instant YouTube classic is a more effective deterrent than a suspension.
Dec. 2, 2009: Two days later, in his first game after injuring a current teammate, Ballard injured a former teammate: Goalie Craig Anderson(notes), who left the Panthers for the Colorado Avalanche last summer.
Ballard barreled into him in overtime (video), and Anderson's head bounced off the goal post. He was forced out of the game due to injury. Said Panthers defenseman Bryan McCabe: "He wasn't running the goalie ... He either lost a (skate) edge or was hit. He hit him for sure, but didn't mean to. He was on his butt. How can you stop?"
In hockey, it's said that the goal post is a goalie's best friend.
Keith Ballard is the opposite of a goal post.