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Murray quickly apologized to Kostka after headshot

Apr 3, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

KostkaDown Getty Images

Douglas Murray wasted no time in reaching out to Bolts blueliner Mike Kostka on Tuesday after delivering a nasty hit that left Kostka with a concussion.

Per the Lightning website:

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s game Michael Kostka checked his phone and had already received a text message from Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray apologizing for the hit that left Kostka momentarily motionless on the ice.

“Classy move,” Kostka said. “I don’t think he had malicious intent, but needless to say it was a bad hit.”

Koskta said after leaving the ice for the trainers’ room it took him about 20 minutes to realize what was going on. The defenseman did not have any recollection of the hit, but had a chance to watch it on tape.

“It was a pretty nasty scary looking hit,” Kostka said. “I’m thankful I’m standing today.”

Kostka is currently undergoing standard post-concussion protocol with no timetable set for his return. Murray, who received a match penalty for the hit and was ejected, had a telephone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this morning.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Text message:

    “Dude! Sorry, man, for trying to separate your head from your body! Still best buds?”

  2. stcrowe - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Nice, quick response from Murray. Anybody who has seen him skate probably never thought that we would say that about him.

  3. nunan - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    This is proof that fans and media ALWAYS over-react to the ‘intent’ of a player. Intent and the actual hit are two separate things. The hit can be really bad and injure a player. Rarely is the intent actually malicious though. Yes, this was a vicious elbow and yes he should be punished but 99% of guys in the league don’t run around trying to intentionally injure by laying head-shots or knee-to-knee hits. It just doesn’t happen. But the reaction these hits get always goes way overboard by calling the player dirty and aiming for vulnerable areas. If you’re a writer, or just a casual fan, I understand the misinformed opinion that players are out to injure but if you really know the game, you’d understand just how fast it is at ice level and how sometimes a natural reaction when throwing a hit, like this one, is to put your elbow up to make contact. That doesn’t mean Murray went into the hit looking to concuss him. That is such a crazy concept to people though. Unless you’re a player like Cooke, intent should never come into the conversation. It gives the league a bad name and results in rule changes that can harm the game.

    • nunan - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Case in point, the first comment above. Murray has never been suspended, I believe. He definitely didn’t want to elbow someone in the head when he decided to step up.

    • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      I agree, pretty much with everything…but where does that leave the players that regardless believes someone needs to jump up and fight or else it’s not hockey?

      • nunan - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        Well, big hits are allowed but so is fighting. I don’t mind the trend of players sticking up for a teammate that just got crushed but I do think sometimes even minor hits get that reaction which is dumb. If anything, maybe it prevents a player from stepping up to crush someone, which prevents a potential concussion. The Orpik hit the other night (and his hit on Eriksson earlier in the season) were technically ‘clean’. But he clearly was out to destroy both those guys with his hits and that’s okay. He’s allowed to hit that way but he should expect a reaction. He’ll be asked to fight, which is also allowed. If he is going to lay hits like that he should be willing to answer for them. He knew exactly what he was doing and who he was hitting. The fight is almost a part of the process: lay a huge hit on a skilled player and fight, 1+1 = 2. That’s the deal you make. Think about it from a player’s perspective. When players don’t answer for it, then things can get out of hand. I guess, in this instance, intent is worth bringing up. Orpik intended to truck skilled-players. Okay but just expect reactions when you make that choice. I don’t mind that give and take approach. It forces players to consider whether they want to fight or not before they step up. That’s a good thing as far as player safety goes. The reason Orpik’s hits are hot topic is bc they are clean but everyone sees he went out there to hit a skilled player as hard as he could, and opposing players want him to answer for it.

      • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        We diverge at ” The fight is almost a part of the process: lay a huge hit on a skilled player and fight, 1+1 = 2. That’s the deal you make.” Actually, we diverge at “big hits are allowed but so is fighting”, since big hits are legal and fighting is illegal.

        I do expect reactions to big hits, I think everyone does. And while I am a fan of fighting between two willing players, I’m stuck at ‘no’ when it comes to a player being EXPECTED to fight for a clean hit, especially when Milbury is preaching it.

        I do, however, respect the response.

      • basedrum777 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        nunan that is a well thought out logic. My only issue is that there’s a good portion of hockey fans who believe you should be asked to answer the bell so to speak, only for illegal hits or other nonsense that aren’t handled within the rules. To ask people to fight for every clean hit just because of who is hot or how strong the hit is turns hockey into a different sport.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        i dont get why a guy has to take himself out of the game for 5 minutes because he did something allowed within the rules. makes no sense. why should he basically take a penalty for 5 minutes for a hit he laid that was not even worth 2 minutes. just like rinaldo vs iginla. iginla took himself out of the game, thats a trade off made in heaven for the flyers a rinaldo for iginla trade off for 5 or longer minutes. plus i believe iginla is hurting from that fight thats why he didnt play last night so it extends into the next week because of what..he had to prove something? to who? rinaldo is gonna keep doing what he does just like orpik will. its dumb. iginla got owned badly all around in that situation.

      • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Right – and think about it, Iginla, at his age, has a lot to work on, every off-season. Has to worry about staying in shape, staying sharp on his skating, stickwork, shooting, reading the plays, both offensively and defensively. Rinaldo has to worry about skating and punching. Yet if Rinaldo wins, he’s “tougher”….not buying that for a second. If Iginla was a thug, he’d be one scary mf’er. But he’s a hockey player. That’s why I agree with what you said, can’t let a rinaldo take an iginla out of the game to appease some knuckle-dragging fan’s need for anger on ice.

      • nunan - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        You’re both right right and I agree, every big hit shouldn’t require a fight. That’s not good for the game either. I do think they players themselves know each other fairly well though and when certain players lay big hits, it is approached differently than others. In other words, Orpik crushing Toews or Eriksson is different than, say Murray doing the same. And Orpik KNOWS the response he is going to get on certain hits because he’s clearly the type of player that loves to devastate. And at the player level, I think it’s completely fine to say “we’re going to respond to Orpik if he starts targeting players in this way”. It’s handled on a case-by-case basis, and in certain cases, I think it’s a good thing. Back to the point though – the Murray hit. Murray is the type of player to lay big hits but he doesn’t intend to put players through the glass all the time. He seems respected around the league and I think that is proof that he wasn’t trying to take off Kostka’s head here, and to your point, doesn’t garner a response from the opposition saying ‘you have to answer for this right now’. Comes down to reputation, which players on the ice are well aware of. Fans and media, not so much.

  4. sjsharks66 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Crankshaft has always been a class act.

  5. upyourstodd - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Why cant players call to apologize instead of texting? Never understood this.

    • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Because most players are under the age of 60, and don’t believe in doing everything the old fashioned way.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        Yeah, that. And, after having his bell rung, I don’t think that Kostka wanted or needed to hear his phone ringing.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      texts do seem disingenuous, as if he didnt have the time to make an effort…it also could come off cowardly in a case like this. not that i think murray was scared specifically, i think he really means his apology but in a situation like this you could have a guy who either cant defend himself or doesnt want to – a text is an easy way to weasle out of confrontation. like breaking up with a chick that way…its for losers.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Not sure of your age, jpelle82; but, texting is today’s almost sole method of communication.

        I don’t disagree with you. At the same time, though, Murray had no idea as to Kostka’s condition – both physically and mentally (as in, he didn’t know if Kostka would even want to talk to him). He reached out in the most immediate way he could think of.

        Your comment “like breaking up with a chick that way” … hmmm … I think that it’s more common than most people think. As a woman, though, I agree that it’s for losers.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        i’m 32 and make my living on the phone…texting is about the most unprofessional thing i could do work wise. its a lost art in my opinion…talking on the phone. i save on travel, face to face time because i can close on the phone. i also eliminate the need for outside salepeople and therefore also any internal competition because i can make a call instead of an appointment or meeting most of the time. on the flipside though i couldnt imagine texting a client a price or ask for a commitment…crazy, i have to make a call even if its just a follow up on something. in my personal life i have 4 kids…i couldnt imagine texting my wife to tell her to tell them something while i’m away or ask how their day was, i call my house phone and talk to them myself. my mother…she wants to hear my voice – not get an email or text update once a week. maybe i’m old fashioned for my age but i think its a shame kids and even my generation cant pick up the phone any more. plus texts can be misinterpreted and you cant convey genuine emotion through them. i read them sometimes and wonder if people are serious or sarcastic and the english and grammar is always terrible.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        No idea why someone would thumb your comment down, jpelle. Then again, I don’t understand a lot of the commenters here anyway. You wrote about your personal experiences.

        I probably should have clarified my remark by saying that texting is today’s almost sole method of communication in the social world. Not professional – that’s just tacky to text back and forth about business.

        You’re right about texts possibly being misinterpreted – just like emails. No way one can convey an emotion in writing. (thank goodness for emoticons?)

        Having written all that, the majority of people will not leave a voice mail message anymore. The preferred method is a text.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if, in the year 2525 and as evolution runs its course, vocal chords will have disappeared and thumbs will be six inches long.

    • skr213 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      I’ll just echo what’s already been said about texting being just standard. On top of that, it seems that it is VERY standard for how NHL players communicate with each other.

  6. sjsharks66 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Might be a little awkward to call right after an incident like that. A lot of the time players text their apology first and after awhile they will give them a call or talk face to face. Plus some player’s don’t want to hear an apology right away. Just like Boyle earlier this year. Took him a long time to get over the hit from Lappy.

  7. muckleflugga - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    this is nhl hockey where you have to keep your head up


    it’s a man’s game … take that hit out of hockey we might as well be going at each other with purses and lipstick … that hit was a clean hit all night every night … all class

    perhaps [ insert name ] should quit being such a pu ssy … this a league for toughs and plodding yellow-striped thugs like [ insert name ] to thrive in …

    feed wants and needs of swivel chair hockey heroes

    it’s a man’s game …. forget skill … i want blood … i want the game’s best players riding the gurney under the careful ministrations of neurosurgeons … skill is for girls chicks women …

    in the kitchen where they belong

    i want the man’s game being run by low-brow knuckle-dragging slope-headed apes masquerading as higher life form …

    bananas anyone

    no sireee those hits are clean hits by every standard inside the nhl … it’s part of the game … it’s part of hockey … keep your head up


  8. georgejarkko - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Both of these guys are gamers.

  9. joey4id - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    intent? less than 1% of injuries stem from intent. u bimbos who use that word do so as if you just learned a new word. 100% intent occurs only during a fight when both combatants want to land a devastating blow that will concuss their opponent.

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