Keith Ballard hospitalized after brutal hit from Islanders' Matt Martin

Keith Ballard in action against the Devils (©GettyImages)

We all know that hockey is a tough guy sport, it's part of what makes the game so appealing to it's millions of fans around the world.

But there are some moments where the blatant brutality of hits has to come into question, and last night we had one of them.

Scary Hit

Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard was rushed to hospital last night after a scary looking hit from New York Islanders' Matt Martin that left Ballard barely conscious and needing hospitalisation.

Ballard passed the puck at mid-ice midway through the second period and tried to turn away as Martin charged toward him at a straight-ahead angle. Martin's forearm was raised for contact, and Ballard was slammed into the glass partition separating the benches above the wall.

Pinned awkwardly, Ballard fell, and his head bounced hard on the ice. At one point, he appeared to be convulsing back and forth as medics hustled out a stretcher, just a few feet in front of concerned players and coaches on the Wild bench.

Sickening

It is believed that Ballard's face hit off the dasher board, with blood reportedly being cleaned off it and cuts to the defenseman's face.

Wild forward Thomas Vanek, who spent part of last season with the Islanders, said he doesn't believe Martin intended any malice. He did, however, call the move "a dumb decision" by Martin.

"I was actually on the forecheck, and the next thing I know he was in a lot of pain, obviously. It's something I don't wish upon anyone," Vanek said, adding: "It was sickening, but we took the emotions the right way and deserved to win."

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