VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler says he was surprised but appreciated a telephone call from Jesse Boulerice of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Boulerice called to apologize for the vicious cross-check he delivered to Kesler's face during an 8-2 Flyers win over the Canucks last Wednesday. "It caught me off guard," Kesler said Monday. "I didn't know who it was at first.
"He introduced himself and asked me how I felt. I was taken back."
The NHL gave Boulerice a 25-game suspension for the hit. It matched the longest punishment handed out by the league for an on-ice incident.
Things got worse for Boulerice on Monday when the Flyers placed him on waivers. The 29-year-old native of Plattsburgh, N.Y., has 319 penalty minutes in 167 career NHL games. He's averaged less than five minutes of ice time per game in his NHL career.
The Flyers signed Boulerice as an unrestricted free agent before the season after he won a job in training camp. He played in just two games this season.
"It just gives us more freedom to do more things with our roster, that's all," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. "Other than that, there's nothing behind it."
Boulerice's hit on Kesler occurred with the Flyers leading 7-2. Kesler laid on the ice for a few minutes and left the game but wasn't severely injured.
He returned to play a pair of matches against Edmonton over the weekend.
Kesler gave Boulerice credit for calling him.
"At least he had enough respect to give me a call and apologize," said Kesler. "That's one good thing that came out of it."
-With files from The Associated Press