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The Ablino Rhino 03-04

The regular season kicked off with a chance for me to get revenge for my embarrassing loss to Stephen Peat.  We bumped into each other at the red line and the gloves were off.  It was a near repeat of the fight as the end of the previous season, except I got off to a much better start, landing several rights clean.  Steve came back with the rapid fire lefts, but I switched hands and hit him with lefts.  That seemed to scare him off as he hung on for dear life while I hit him with a few rights towards the end of the bout.

I injured my shoulder again, and was out of the lineup for three weeks.  I came back on December 13th for a game against the Rangers, and a fight against Dale Purinton.  Given the fact that he was my personal punching bag, I thought it only fitting that we should have a little chat during the pregame skate.

“Hey, Dale Punching Bag” I shouted across the ice.
Dale shook his head.  “At least my shoulder isn't fragile like glass.”
“Oh my shoulder.  It just needs to be worked out by beating up someone who just turtles and takes the punches.  I know you look forward to the beatings I give you, on and off the ice.”

The fight itself was a clear win for me.  Dale couldn't be bothered to throw any real punches and tried hanging on most of the time.  At the end of the fight, we got some separation between us and I let my right fist fly, landing right on the noggin and sending Dale down.  Another TKO win for me.  

I re-injured my shoulder, and needed surgery.  I was on the shelf for two months.  Not a week after I had returned, I made one of the stupidest plays of my career.  I slashed Ossi Vaananen in the face.  I still maintain that it was an accident.  Ossi had pushed me into the goal and I was turning around to confront him, not realizing that I had my stick up.  By the time I realized what I was doing, it was too late, and Ossi went down in a heap.  I got a major and was thrown out of the game.

The next morning, I got a call saying I needed to come down to NHL offices for an in person discipline hearing with Colin Campbell.  I caught a flight down to New York that afternoon.  I remember Bryan being disgusted at all the talk going on in the media back at home.  The usual anti-fighting assholes were comparing it to Todd Bertizzi's cheap shot, which was just two weeks prior.  There were calls for me to be banned for the rest of the year.  Some bitch even said I should be criminally charged.  Seriously?

I went into the hearing and explained my side of the story.  I felt Colin was receptive to my views and in the end I think he saw it more the way I painted it, as an accident.  I ended up getting eight games, which wasn't bad.  That ended up being the rest of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs.