Dear Mr. Paukovich, please get out of hockey.
That hit last night on Kyle Greentree of the Calgary Flames was, by all accounts, disgusting. I’ve read most of the writeups of that Edmonton vs. Calgary prospects game, and the one thing that seems universally mentioned is that Paukovich got drilled and came up looking to crush the first guy he saw. That first guy was Kyle Greentree, who had his back to the ice behind the net.
So Paukovich obviously put him into the boards headfirst, and Greentree had to be taken out on a stretcher. When not even the Edmonton media is rushing to your defense, you must have done something that’s indefensible.
“Things happen pretty fast, I was just trying to be physical down low which is what I have to do to be successful,” Paukovich said. “I have to make guys not want to play in their defensive zone.
“All I can say is I hope he’s OK and he can come back and have a good camp with Calgary. There was no intent, I don’t play the game trying to hurt people. I was just trying to play physical and it was just something that happened.”
Which would all be fine, things happen in hockey and I understand that. But this isn’t the first time Paukovich has drilled someone headfirst into the boards.
Three years ago, when Paukovich was playing for the University of Denver, he dropped North Dakota’s Robbie Bina on a similar play, and broke his neck. Bina missed the entirety of the season, Paukovich was suspended by the league for a game, and by his coach for another.
Both players, ironically, are in the Edmonton system now.
I’m not saying Paukovich is out there trying to hurt people, but he’s certainly not thinking about the safety of his opponents.
“That was three years ago, that was a different situation, a different set of circumstances and a different place,” Paukovich said. “I know Rob and I have both put it behind us.”
I would like to know why, exactly, this is a different situation? It seems pretty similar to me. Guy’s got his head down along the boards, and Paukovich lines him up and just crushes him. Greentree, like Bina, is going to be fine, but there’s no place in hockey for crap like this.