Wild’s Keith Ballard not bothered by boarding from Brandon Bollig
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter May 13, 2014 10:15PM
Updated: May 14, 2014 12:30AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard was hurt when Brandon Bollig boarded him in Game 4.
His feelings weren’t hurt, though. So he didn’t need Bollig to reach out and offer an apology, or to check up on him after the game.
It’s hockey, he said. These things happen.
“Too much gets made of the whole, ‘Did he text you?’ ” Ballard said. “I don’t give a [expletive]. I honestly don’t. It’s fine. That’s what happens. I’ve hit guys, and they’ve been injured. I don’t think it was overly malicious. It was probably a dumb play. That stuff doesn’t really matter to me. It’s part of the game.”
Ballard returned to the Wild lineup Tuesday after missing Game 5. Bollig was suspended two games for the hit, which plastered Ballard into the glass face-first. Ballard, who missed seven games early in the season with a concussion, said the team was being extra cautious with him.
“We were trying to be pretty smart about it,” he said. “There was no chance [of playing] if I had symptoms. I’d been through that before, been down that road a couple times. And the more you kind of learn about these things and the more information that’s coming out, the long-term effects, they’re not worth it to put yourself in that situation.”
Coach Joel Quenneville had no comment on the suspension, but said Bollig needs to continue to be physical without being reckless.
“He’s got to be a player that plays on the edge, finding that line there,” Quenneville said. “Just make sure you’re playing hard. I don’t think we want him to change his style of play, but knowing that there’s always a line you have to be mindful of.”
Ballard harbored no ill will.
“I don’t think it was a good hit, but I also understand the circumstances,” he said. “It’s a big game, he was trying to generate some energy. … He just maybe [went] a little over the line.”