January 7, 2011
Leafs' Colby slams 'Meat-head'
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
ATLANTA — With a patch over his eye and a smile on his face, Colby Armstrong needed just two words to describe Ben Eager, the man responsible for his injury.
Don’t be surprised if the league feels the same way after reviewing the sucker-punch that Eager delivered to Armstrong in the second period of the Maple Leafs’ 9-3 win here on Friday night.
Eager, listed conservatively at 240 pounds in the Thrashers media guide, was kicked out of the contest for deliberate intent to injure, a penalty that carries an automatic one-game suspension. It could be a lot more, too, after NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell gets through with his research.
Armstrong will never win the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. He earns his paycheck being a superpest, chirping at opponents and getting under the other team’s skin.
Having said that, Eager went far over the edge with his cheap shot. And when after the final horn had sounded, he showed absolutely no remorse for his actions, calling Armstrong a “phony.”
“Oh, yeah. He’s one of the biggest phonies in the league,” Eager said. “He’s done his fair share of dirty stuff in this league and he’ll never answer the bell.
“But what goes around comes around so I’m sure some day someone will catch him with his head down.”
Not quite a direct threat. But the implication was there.
Eager said the Thrashers took exception to a low hit by Armstrong near Rich Peverley’s knee in the first period.
Whatever the case, Eager almost singlehandedly was responsible for this savage drubbing. The Leafs scored a season-high five power-play goals in the game, all on Eager penalties.
Armstrong’s right eye immediately swelled shut after absorbing the blow, causing coach Ron Wilson to take him out of the game for precautionary reasons.
“What can you say? He’s out there running around like an idiot,” Armstrong said of Eager. “I’ll let the league decide what to do about it.”
It is not known how many games Armstrong will miss, if any. But at least he maintained a sense of humour about the incident.
“I can’t believe he missed my nose,” Armstrong laughed. “I know it looks pretty ugly wearing this thing. But at least (the eye) feels better with it on.”