Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blanchard reflects on suspension

Nicolas Blanchard displayed genuine concern about the status of Patrick Maroon’s health, but didn’t apologize for his style of play, either.
Blanchard, who knocked Maroon unconscious with a hit early in the first period of Adirondack’s 4-2 win at Albany last Wednesday, was officially suspended for three games by the American Hockey League on Monday.
The Rats centerman, who sat out both the New Year’s Eve game at Adirondack and Saturday’s game at Syracuse, will complete his suspension by missing Wednesday’s game versus the Phantoms in Albany.
“I knew that I hit him, but I didn’t try to hurt him,” Blanchard said. “I was kind of surprised … when you look at the video, you can tell I did nothing wrong, I just tried to grab him and tried to get one of my teammates out of trouble, but I guess I hit him pretty hard.”
Maroon, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher and suffered a concussion and back and shoulder injuries, is out indefinitely.
“I think he’s going to come through and I hope he’s feeling good,” Blanchard said after practice on Tuesday.
“He feels bad. He really does feel bad about it,” Albany coach Jeff Daniels said of Blanchard on Thursday.
Blanchard is eligible to return to action when Albany hosts Manchester on Friday.
“I just try to stand up for my teammates and every shift I go hard,” Blanchard said.
This was the second suspension of the season for Blanchard, who also missed the remainder of last season because of injuries suffered from the Albany team bus’ crash in the early morning hours of last Feb. 19 on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
“I’m not going to change my game at all,” Blanchard said. “Maybe I’m going to be more intense and hungry because I missed these games, I really want to play.
“I sat out a lot of games because of the bus accident, so it’s frustrating, but I can’t wait to get back out there.”


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