After he cold-cocked Aaron Ward and scored the series-winning overtime goal against them, Bruins fans probably wished the Hurricanes' Scott Walker would get cancer. Unfortunately for everyone, his wife beat him to it.
The Hurricanes announced this weekend that Walker's wife, Julie, was diagnosed with cervical cancer during the second-round series against Boston. While that is no excuse, it certainly could be an explanation for why he went loco on Ward's face in Game 5—attacking him while he was engaged with another player then punching him in the mouth, even though Ward had not dropped his gloves or raised a fist. It would also explain why he did not play particularly well in the final games of the series, right up until the moment when he tore the Bruins heart out with his only goal of the playoffs.
"The last couple [of] games, I don't even really remember playing them," Walker said. "I talked to [Maurice] about that. I played those games, and sometimes I would look up or at the end of the game, I'd be like, 'Wow, we just played a game.' I was trying to do my job and play as hard as I could and try and keep my mind as calm as I could. After that game [Thursday], so much emotion went out of me."
So the headline goes from "Colossal Jerk Stomps On Bruins Playoff Dreams" to "Courageous Do-Gooder Scores Miracle Goal For Dying Wife," all because of that one little twist in the story. (His wife is expected to make a full recovery, by the way.) It's kind of like how Episodes I-III made Darth Vader seem like a bit of a whiny baby.
How playoffs' biggest villain became NHL's sympathetic underdog [Puck Daddy]
Goal released Walker's burden [News & Observer]