Florida goalie says wild head injury inflicted by teammate ‘not a big deal’

Florida defenceman Keith Ballard says he was “kind of in shock” after injuring his own goalie during a Panthers game against Atlanta.

Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun lies on the ice after being struck on the head by the stick of teammate Keith Ballard on Monday in Atlanta. Vokoun was taken off the ice on a stretcher.

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida defenceman Keith Ballard says he was “kind of in shock” after injuring his own goalie during a Panthers game against Atlanta.

Ballard accidentally whacked Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun in the head with his stick, cutting his left ear after the Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk scored Monday night. Ballard says he didn’t even realize he had hit Vokoun when he skated off the ice. He was aiming for the goal and hurling his stick around in frustration. Ballard called his actions “unacceptable.”

Vokoun received stitches Monday night. He says the injury looked scarier than it actually was. His ear was covered with a bandage and a ski cap Wednesday.

The Panthers play Colorado on Wednesday night.

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