ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -Kim Johnsson has recovered from the punch to his head that knocked him out of the last game, but the Minnesota Wild are still sore about it.
Eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in their first-round playoff series Thursday night, the Wild remained angry two days later that Brad May - a fourth-line wing for the Ducks who has only 11 goals over his last four seasons - injured their best defenseman and was suspended by the NHL for only three games.
"I feel that's not the way to do it," Johnsson said. "If he wants to fight, at least tell me that he wants to do something so I can protect myself."
In his first public comments since the hit in the final moments of Tuesday's Game 4, Johnsson showed a slight bruise under his left eye. He said that May called him to apologize, declining to elaborate on the conversation but acknowledging that it was heated at times.
Initially fearing his cheekbone was broken, Johnsson had a CT scan at a local hospital and remained under observation while his team traveled to Anaheim for Game 5. Though he's had a problem in the past with concussions, Johnsson said on Saturday that he was feeling fine.
Physically, at least.
"It's just sad when stuff like that can happen," he said.
General manager Doug Risebrough went further, alleging that the punch broke May's hand and left him immediately unable to play - therefore rendering the suspension irrelevant.
Without naming him, Risebrough also blamed Ducks GM Brian Burke for acquiring May from Colorado at the trade deadline. May previously played for Burke when they were both with Vancouver.
"I wonder right now if it isn't time for the general managers to start taking more responsibility for how their players play," Risebrough said. "Because ultimately it's us that hires the coaches, it's us that gets the players, and then if there's a behavior that's on the ice that's not positive for the game, why wouldn't we go to the source? Why wouldn't we hold the general managers accountable for how their teams play? Ultimately, maybe we would have fewer of these things. Some of these things follow general managers around from one place to the other. Maybe they should be accountable for how their teams play."
Burke complained in a story published Saturday by the Orange County Register that Minnesota's enforcer, Derek Boogaard, incited a scuffle during warmups before Game 5 by crossing the red line and skating on Anaheim's side.
Burke also said he wasn't surprised that Boogaard and Wild coach Jacques Lemaire didn't participate in the traditional postgame handshake at the end of the series. Burke pointed to Lemaire's absence from the line following the 2003 Western Conference semifinal victory over the Canucks.
Risebrough said he advised Boogaard to skip the handshake, fearing that he would be unfairly blamed for anything that might have happened. Lemaire said he stayed away because he was mad about May's punch and upset with Burke for comments he made before the series about the Ducks' superior toughness and strength.
"That's the reason why I didn't shake. Very simple," the coach said.