OK, I’ve watched the replay of the Bruton-Beach incident. Here’s a more detailed account of what led up to the punch:
– After the game ends Everett’s Graham Potuer and Spokane’s Mitch Wahl are staring one another down at the side of the Everett net.
– Potuer gives Wahl a shove just as Beach is coming up behind Wahl to get involved. Beach had already grabbed ahold of Wahl when the shove comes so Wahl loses balance. Beach grabs a little tighter to keep Wahl from falling.
– Wahl and Beach then get tangled up, with the linesman having to get between the two of them to break it up. While the three are tangled Beach appears to get a glove in Wahl’s face and Wahl’s flailing arm catches the back of Beach’s head.
– After Beach and Wahl are separated Bruton comes from behind Beach and puts a hand on Beach’s arm.
– Beach turns and gives Bruton a shove in the face.
– Bruton responds by unloading an overhand right that catches Beach flush, sending Beach to the ice. Bruton’s reaction was immediate, so although I couldn’t tell for sure, it seems unlikely Bruton had the opportunity to drop his glove before throwing his punch.
Spokane coach Bill Peters said the following about the incident in the Spokane Spokesman-Review:
“I saw two punches – one punch with a glove on and (another) punch with a glove on,” said Peters. “I’d be shocked if there’s (a suspension on Bruton) from that – absolutely shocked. Let’s not kid ourselves, you talk about acting 101.
“You get knocked down, you get up, that’s hockey.”
I have no update on Beach’s condition, but I’ll find out more today at practice. I’m curious to see what all becomes of this, whether the league decides to get involved. It’s also interesting seeing how polarized the fan reaction has been. I find it quite the telling commentary on human nature that people can view the same incident and come away with such opposing interpretations. It certainly makes me ponder the reliability of “facts” in any context, not just this one. And as a reporter who’s job is to present the “facts,” it makes me acutely aware that doing that isn’t always as easy as it seems.
UPDATE 12:02 p.m.
OK, let’s see if this works. Here’s the Youtube video of the Beach-Bruton altercation for your own perusal: