Aaron Ward is on the ice for the morning skate. He is not wearing any facial protection. Ward will play tonight.
Ward took a punch to the left side of his head in the third period of Game 5. Walker was initially given an instigator, fighting, and a 10-minute misconduct, triggering an automatic one-game suspension. Yesterday, however, the league rescinded the suspension — GM Peter Chiarelli believed the original instigating penalty was wiped out too — and fined Walker $2,500.
“Part of it was that he felt there was an expectation of a fight,” Chiarelli said. “That’s why he didn’t feel there was the instigator aspect of it.”
Chiarelli’s take on what happened: “I saw him engaged with [Matt] Cullen in a scrum. Maybe that would have been a fight. Then I saw Walker come in over the top and throw a punch with his glove on and graze him. Then he followed with a right without the glove on. To me, it looked like a classic instigator. I can understand instigators being rescinded. There are variances where they should be rescinded. To me, it was a classic third man in with a sucker punch.”
What Cam Neely saw: “He’s jostling with Cullen. Walker comes in and throws a punch. Misses him and almost nails him with an elbow. Ward gives him a shot. He drops his gloves and pops him.”
Chiarelli also believed Walker was the third man into the scrum.
“What’s missing is the third man in,” said Chiarelli. “He’s scuffling with Cullen. I can understand if Walker comes in and they engage. Maybe I could see them rescinding there. To me, it was an ambush.”