Center faces suspension in light of check from behind on Sharks' defenseman
By LOUIE KORAC
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- A day after knocking San Jose Dan Boyle out of the game, Blues center Maxim Lapierre wanted to extend his apologies to the Sharks defenseman.
"First of all, I would like to apologize to Dan," the 28-year-old Lapierre said after Wednesday's practice. "You never want to see someone feel that way. As tough as it is to look (at) for the fans and their teammates, I feel the same way."
Lapierre was penalized and ejected from the game after finishing a check on Boyle in the Sharks' defensive end, hit Boyle with a forearm check to the back of Boyle that drove the Sharks' d-man head-first into the boards, leaving him motionless for several minutes. Boyle was taken off on a stretcher and was at St. Louis' Barnes-Jewish Hospital overnight for observation but according to Sharks' PR, left the hospital in the morning and was going back to San Jose feeling better.
(St. Louis Blues/Mark Buckner)
The Blues' Maxim Lapierre (40) was ejected from Tuesday night's game
for this check on San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle.
Sharks players referred to Lapierre as an "idiot" after the game and accused the Blues' fourth-line center of threatening them prior to the incident.
"It's tough to separate a guy that's yapping and a guy that's trying to hurt people," Lapierre said. "I know I'm the type of guy that talks a lot on the ice, but it's really not my intention to hurt anybody. That never came close (to being the intention) when I went for that hit that it was going to be that big of a deal."
Lapierre tried to call Boyle's cell phone Tuesday night to apologize, to no avail.
"I tried to call him last night. Obviously, he's not in the mood to talk to me I guess," Lapierre said. "I tried to call his cell phone, but it's obviously a tough day for him and his family. It's tough for him to answer a guy who just hit him. I'm obviously going to try and call him back during the year when it's a better point. I know what kind of player I am. I talk a lot on the ice, try to play my role, but my family and my friends know I'm definitely not a guy that tries to hurt people. I feel terrible today for him.
"The game goes fast. It's not an excuse, and you've got to be responsible for your hits. I was the one that did the bad hit last night. ... It's a bad situation for me to try to explain. The guy's on a stretcher. Nobody wants to see that, especially a player like him who's an all-star guy going to the Olympics. One thing I know inside my head: I didn't jump or I didn't try to go for his head. I was just trying to finish my hit. There's no excuse. It's terrible, it's not fun to look at somebody on the ice. The only thing I want to focus on today is that hopefully he gets better."
The Blues went on to lose the game 6-2, the first setback of the season, as the Sharks used Boyle's absence as motivation.
"I put my team in trouble obviously," Lapierre said. "I'm going to take 100 percent blame for that loss last night.
"I'm not really going to comment on the hit except to say it's no excuse. It's like somebody driving a car, you're responsible behind the wheel. It happened fast and I'm the guy that looks bad now."
Lapierre's teammates came to his defense after the game, including David Backes and Alexander Steen, and more came to his defense Wednesday.
"I don't think by any means he intended to hurt anybody," defenseman Jordan Leopold said of Lapierre. "Anytime you see that, you think, 'What if it was me?' He's thinking the same thing today.
(St. Louis Blues/Mark Buckner)
Following the hit on San Jose Sharks' Dan Boyle, players from both the
Blues and Sharks got into a several scuffles, including a pair of fights.
Added defenseman Jay Bouwmeester: "If you ask him, you're never trying to hurt a guy or do anything like that. He's a guy ... that's the way he plays. He plays a fast game. He tries to get on the forecheck and hit, that sort of thing. It happens unfortunately. Stuff like that's just not going to stop."
Lapierre appreciates the support of teammates but now his fate is in the hands of the league, which can offer up a five- or six-game suspension or larger pending a meeting with the player.
"I think the league's going to look at it. I'll respect their decision," Lapierre said. "My teammates are supporting me right now, but at the end of the day, the only thing me and my family are thinking about is hopefully he gets better. There's not much (more) I can say now. I'm in a bad spot right now. I just hit a guy, put him on a stretcher. Whatever I say is going to sound bad, but truly hope he's going to feel good."