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Gleason: 'I Did What I Had to Do'

Tuesday, 01.25.2011 / 1:18 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Gleason: \'I Did What I Had to Do\'
A day after his punch of Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin earned him a game misconduct, Tim Gleason was regretful that the incident occurred but not necessarily regretful of his actions.

Paul Branecky
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In a scrum in front of the Carolina bench at the buzzer to end the first period, Kulemin appeared to punch Gleason in the face twice with his gloves still on. Gleason finally took exception, throwing his gloves off and delivering a knockout blow to Kulemin, who left the ice bloodied and did not return.

Most likely due to the fact that Kulemin had not yet removed his gloves at the time of the fateful punch, referees determined that Gleason would not return to the game. It was a divisive play that resulted in Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice and Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson both claiming Gleason was in the right, although Toronto players, including Kulemin, continue to express the opposite.

For his part, Gleason isn’t sure what he should have done differently.

“I’ve watched it 30 times, probably more,” he said. “I went home and watched it until 2:30 in the morning. I stand up for myself. I don’t hit people that I know don’t fight, and I actually have zero interest in people that don’t fight.

“He came in, and I could have dropped my gloves then when you think about it,” continued Gleason. “I didn’t. I took one (punch), and I didn’t. I took two, and then I figured, well, if you’re going to keep punching me in the face, I don’t know what else to do. I had to protect myself.”

Gleason said that he plans to get Kulemin’s phone number today and give him a call. The Hurricanes’ defenseman expressed some doubt that Kulemin would pick up, which seems warranted based on the Russian’s comments on Monday. Kulemin seemed to agree with his teammates, who called the play “disgusting” and said that Gleason “obviously isn’t that smart.”

“They can say whatever they want,” said Gleason. “They can stand up for their player and that’s what they’re going to do and that’s fine. I’m not going to get away from my game, because if I don’t play that game I won’t be here.”

Furthering the lines drawn in the sand, Gleason’s teammates similarly stuck up for him.

“To be honest, I probably would have done the same thing,” said Troy Bodie, the closest thing the Hurricanes have to an enforcer. “He took a couple of punches in the face, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Ron Wilson even said it was the appropriate action. For an opposing coach to say that says something.”

The game misconduct was Gleason’s second of the season, as referees also gave him the boot for a hit on Washington’s Mathieu Perrault on Dec. 26, even though Perrault’s gruesome injury seemed to be caused by his own stick hitting him in the face rather than from any direct contact by Gleason.

Asked if he felt as though he was getting a reputation, Gleason could only shrug his shoulders.

“I’m not that type of player,” he said. “I don’t care what anybody says. If you have a problem, I’m here.”


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
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11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81