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No skull, spine fracture: Incident stirs Leaf memories of Kypreos fight
Michael Traikos, National Post
Published: Monday, February 12, 2007

TORONTO - Wade Belak has seen a lot of fights in his career, most of them from the perspective of a pair of fists lunging for his face. But the sight of Maple Leafs teammate Kris Newbury laying on the ice Saturday night, bloodied and unconscious, was new territory.

"I've never seen that before," said Wade Belak, who has participated in a team-high nine fights this season and more than 100 during his career. "I went over there and he was out. His eyes were rolled back. When I saw his head bleeding, I knew it was serious. But when he tried to get up and I saw him chewing his gum, I knew he was going to be OK."

Newbury, a minor-league call-up, was trading blows with the Penguins' Ronald Petrovicky midway through the third period of a 6-5 Leafs overtime loss when he absorbed a pair of punches and fell backwards. Newbury's head, which was no longer protected by a helmet, violently bounced off the ice.

The 24-year-old, who left the ice on a stretcher, received a standing ovation from the soldout Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,620, a regular-season record. He spent the night at Mount Sinai Hospital, where tests revealed the Brampton native did not suffer a skull or spine fracture.

The incident brought back memories of former Leaf Nick Kypreos getting knocked out by the Rangers' Ryan Vandenbussche during a 1997 pre-season game in New York. The resulting concussion eventually forced Kypreos into retirement.

"Regardless of how tough you are or how many punches you've taken, if you get hit in the right spot, you're going down," said Leafs head coach Paul Maurice. "We see it on TV and on the highlight tapes. Big lads are slugging it out and every once in a while you get a reminder that it's pretty serious business."

The Newbury-Petrovicky tilt came just seconds after the Penguins tied the game at 5-5, this after the Leafs had worked hard to erase a 3-0 deficit and take a 5-4 lead.

"We were pissed," said Belak. "It was a very blah first period and we knew what had to get done."

At 10:54 in the second period, defenceman Hal Gill took it upon himself to get Toronto back in the game. Admitting that he was more upset about being down 3-0 than he was with his opponent, Gill bodychecked Colby Armstrong to the ice. When the 6-foot-2, 188-pound Penguins forward got up, he was crosschecked, punched and provoked into fighting the 6-foot-7, 250- pound Leafs defenceman.

"I wanted to go in and get the hit and hopefully we'd get something going," said Gill, who added he was reacting to an earlier elbow thrown by Armstrong. "I got angry. You're going to get angry when you're down 3-0. Sitting in the box, I could see [the effect it had]. It was good, we got things going."


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Leafs' Newbury makes amends on fight

Canadian Press
2/12/2007 2:09:20 PM

TORONTO (CP) - Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kris Newbury, it turns out, will only be out a week in what turned out be to a more scary-looking incident than it really was.

It was so scary that Pittsburgh Penguins winger Ronald Petrovicky, who decked Newbury with a series of rights Saturday night, called the next day to make sure he was OK.

"I appreciate that and I told him that," Newbury said Monday in the Leafs' dressing room. "It was a freak accident that happens every once in a while in the game."

They spoke for 10 minutes.

"I told him it wasn't his fault," said Newbury, who turns 25 next Monday. "He felt bad about what happened."

It certainly looked a lot worse. Newbury lay motionless for 30 seconds before awakening just as Toronto's training staff began treating him.

A large pool of blood collected under his head and he was strapped to a spinal board and taken for treatment. He later went to hospital for examination.

But Newbury, amazingly, didn't suffer a concussion. He rode the bike Monday and can't wait to get back on the ice.

"I think they'll keep me off for a couple of days just for precautionary reasons and then hopefully be back on the ice in about a week," he said. "No concussion-like symptoms, I feel pretty good.

"The back of my head is a little sore from the staples being there but other than that I'm pretty good."

Newbury earned a spot with the Leafs this season after the team lost several forwards to injury. He's played mostly on the fourth line in an energy role and has two goals and four points in 15 games.

He saw the fight on video.


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Good to know. Glad to see that it looked worse than it really was.
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