Sheffield Steelers: 'I could have been brain damaged!' - Michael Davies on violent clash with Manchester rival and his six-game suspension
Michael Davies is relieved he escaped without a potentially life-changing head injury after his brush with rival Mathieu Gagnon.
The Sheffield Steeler appeared to be hit on the back of the head several times as he lay pinned underneath the Manchester Storm skater, last week.
Davies eventually clambered to his feet, spotted Gagnon' glove and wiped his own blood on it - and unsportsmanlike offence which contributed to a six-game suspension for the centre.
The 32-year-old player was candid enough to regret his action and accept his punishment in an interview with The Star.
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But he stressed: "It is just one of those things where I am just happy I didn't have any brain damage."
He questioned whether an "intent to injure" by Gagnon should be deemed less of an offence than "a little blood on a glove" but added: "It is hockey, you have got to move forward and I accept my suspension and I hope my team can win these games and I can get back out."
Asked whether he felt the length of the ban was unreasonable, the American said: "As I said I am just happy out of this whole thing that I don't have a brain injury - I still have little head and neck issues, but I am happy I didn't come out with a brain injury, that is more important than anything."
While he regretted his part in the incident at Sheffield Arena, it won't change Davies' sporting philosophy or on-ice edge.
"I am always going to bring the energy; that is how I play," he said.
"I am not a dirty player people might think that just because of the things that have gone on but whenever someone gets their head bashed on the ice and already been through a fight, sometimes you don't know what is going through your head."
"I am going to help this team win, I am an energetic player and I just want to win a championship and I will do whatever it takes."
The skater from Chesterfield, Missouri, is enthusiastic about his team's chances of winning the main EIHL silverware.
"We have a great team and it starts in the locker room, we have got a great group of guys.
"We battle (in practice) we really push each other."
The team, though, just has to play "the right way" - when they have lost it has been because they have been their own worst enemy, he said.
"It is very rare that we have gotten beat by the other team, if we can play the right way we can have positive results at the end."
A chief contributor to that aim, he said, was goaltender Tomas Duba.
"All year he has had our back even games we have not been playing very well he still stopped 30 or 40 shots. He works hard and we just need to be better in front of him."
Steelers’ top scorer Marco Vallerand has been banned for one game after he punched the back of Owen Griffiths' head in a weekend match against Guildford Flames.
He now misses Saturday's trip to Cardiff Devils.
The winger accepts he deserves the punishment.
Vallerand said on Twitter: "Retaliation for a body check... We get checked... we’re hockey players... its our job. Wanna protect players. Stop them from using their sticks as wood choppers. But hey... these are my own personal thoughts."