The Canes' Scott Walker didn't go straight from the ice to the treatment room after the morning skate today, hiding out until the media departed the locker room.
Walker stood in front of his locker, answering every question about the punch he threw at the Bruins' Aaron Ward in Game 5, the one that resulted in a $2,500 fine -- but no suspension -- from the NHL.
"I was trying to defend a teammate. It's unfortunate what happened," he said. "I haven't been known to hit somebody without their gloves on.
"The way he was, I thought there was a fight and there wasn't apparently. So I'll pay my fine and I accept the punishment."
Walker's confrontation with Ward came with 2:47 left and after Ward pushed and shoved the Canes' Matt Cullen. Walker grabbed Ward's jersey and Ward threw a punch that hit Walker in the shoulder. Walker then landed the hard right that dropped Ward, who is expected to play tonight in Game 6.
Any remorse, Walker was asked?
"Nobody likes to hit somebody when they're not really protecting themselves," he said. "But in the same sense, I've been in the other side where you're not protecting yourself and get hit. ...
"I thought we were going to be fighting and I went over and pushed him. I thought he punched me and I dropped my gloves and swung. Obviously you never want to see anybody get hurt or go down like that. For that, I'm sorry, but I've been on the other end where you think nothing will happen and you get punched.
"I think you have to defend yourself but it's not something I'm proud of."
Walker noted that the penalties received from the fight were his first of the series.
Canes coach Paul Maurice later was asked about the incident and asked if it was, indeed, a "sucker punch."
"We told it like we saw it and the league agreed," he said.