Nathan Gerbe gets manhandled by NHL ref after hit from behind (VIDEO)

Buffalo Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe returned to the ice on Thursday night at the Carolina Hurricanes after undergoing spinal surgery for lingering neck and back issues last July.

Once more, with feeling: Back surgery. So one can understand why Gerbe would go a little bonkers after Drayson Bowman of the Hurricanes crushed him with a hit from behind on in the first period. Harder to understand: What referee Dan O'Halloran was thinking slamming Gerbe against the glass during the incident?

(Apologies for the video quality; best we could dig up. If you have better, hit us at

Did an NHL ref have to go all Elliot Stabler on Gerbe like he was a special victims perp?

Face it: O'Halloran isn’t grabbing a player’s jersey and pushing him up against the glass if he isn’t a Bilbo Baggins-sized winger. It was embarrassing, especially in light of the context with Gerbe’s injury. He had every right to pop off – and how did Bowman stay in this game, anyway? He was given two for boarding, nothing more.

Not the best moment for the officiating crew. But there were worse last night.