Watch the Injury of the Year: Panthers Goalie Bashed in the Face by His Enraged Teammate

The Panthers aren't exactly having the finest season on ice. They choked away their third game in a row last night, dropping to 10-12-4, good for the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

But it wasn't the 4-3, last-second loss to the Thrashers last night that stung like a Paula Deen ham to the face.

No, what really hurt was when Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard severely wounded his own goalkeeper, Tomas Vokoun, with a vicious baseball-bat swing to the head.

Check out the video for the ultimate hockey lowlight, but here's the play-by-play:

  • Ballard gets completely schooled on a breakaway by Ilyu Kovalchuk.
  • Ballard helplessly watches Kovalchuk punch it into the net.
  • Screaming with outrage, Ballard cocks his stick back Hanley Ramirez-style and lets fly -- presumably aiming at the crossbar.
  • Vokoun crumples to the ice, grasping his head and drifting in and out of consciousness.

Ouch. In the end -- although Vokoun spent five minutes prone on the ice and was carted off on a stretcher -- the goalie just needed stitches for his left ear and apparently didn't get a concussion.

But Ballard's night only got worse. Two periods later, the Thrashers won the game with 5.5 seconds left -- on a goal deflected off Ballard's stick.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink