Joe Thornton – yes, that same future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton – simply had enough and punched Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek straight in the face on Thursday night.
You just can’t make this stuff up, folks.
The play began after Jumbo Joe poked Mrazek after the whistle looking for a loose puck. Mrazek turned to slash Thornton, but missed his target, and the two turned and met for a face-to-face showdown.
After what we can assume was a polite exchange, Thornton dropped Mrazek onto the ice with a quick right hook. Several Hurricanes players came to defend their goaltender but didn’t get a chance after referees apprehended Thornton and sent him to the box.
Both players were assessed penalties on the play, Thornton with two minutes for roughing and two additional minutes for slashing, while Mrazek received two minutes for slashing.
After the game, which the Hurricanes won 3-2 in a shootout, Mrazek was asked about the incident with Thornton and called it “a cheap shot”.
When reporters asked how hard it is for a goaltender to regain their composure after a wild moment like that, Mrazek said that it actually helped him.
“You feel like you’re in the game, and you want to make saves for the guys and get the win.”
Mrazek made 30 saves throughout the game and stopped all three shootout attempts.
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