May regrets injury but not punch itself

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2007 - 12:46 AM

The Ducks winger said his intent was not to inflict the head damage suffered by the Wild's Kim Johnsson, a player he says he respects.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Ducks agitator Brad May, one day after being handed a three-game suspension, said Thursday he didn't regret punching Kim Johnsson but did regret giving the Wild defenseman what the team is calling a "head injury."I never in one moment wanted to hurt somebody and take the opportunity of them playing away," said the 35-year-old May, a 16-year veteran. "I have one regret, and it's not from what I did. ... People may not read this properly, and I swear it's from my heart, from who I am. I hope Kim Johnsson's OK. And I hope I haven't put him in a terrible or bad or tough situation.

"He wants to play hockey as much as I want to play hockey, he wants to win like I do. I respect Kim Johnsson. I respect his teammates. I respect [Wild enforcer] Derek Boogaard, who said I have no respect for people. I do have respect for people."

The incident occurred with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in Tuesday's Game 4. As the Wild's Adam Hall was about to fight Kent Huskins, a scrum broke out when Shawn Thornton flew in as a third man in.

May, about 15 feet from the play in front of Anaheim's bench, turned, dropped his gloves, skated to his left and clocked Johnsson. After Johnsson fell, May tried to pick him back up, presumably for Round 2, but dropped him when he realized Johnsson was injured.

"I didn't hit an unsuspecting player," May said. "We were face-up. Unfortunately, if I'm guilty of anything, it would be that I threw the first punch."

Asked if he realized it was Johnsson, who's never had an NHL fight, May said: "You know, I've got to say I didn't. It happened so quickly. I turn around, I see these four guys. I honestly picked the tallest guy on the ice. Of course, two seconds later, a second and a half later, I don't know who it is ... it's finished and I skated off the ice."

May said he plans to contact Johnsson but added, "I don't know how it'll be received." May also said he was physically able to play Thursday, important because he apparently injured his hand delivering the punch. And if he were unable to play, the suspension would be delayed.

Assistant GM Tom Lynn said Johnsson, who missed 31 games last season because of a concussion, was still under observation Thursday and an update from doctors is expected today.

Coach Jacques Lemaire said the length of the suspension "doesn't matter. I live with the decision very easily. My only question is if Boogaard would have done that the first game to one of their top defenseman, what would happen? Would it have been the same thing, three games or what?"

Lemaire added: "And if it's the same thing, it would have been good to do it," a sarcastic inference by Lemaire that losing a fourth-liner for three games is worth getting rid of an opponent's top defenseman.

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