July 29 2013 01:40PM
Back on May 16 during the World Hockey Championships, Alex Edler hammered Eric Staal with a brutal looking knee-on-knee hit. On the 17th, the IIHF handed down an open-ended suspension, one that was to be for the remainder of the tournament and...ellipses. There was no closing date to his suspension.
Now that the NHL and IOC have an agreement in place for NHL players to participate in the 2014 Sochi Games, the situation needs to be sorted out. That's why Edler recently had a hearing with the IIHF Disciplinary Committee, one that doesn't seem to have gone well for the 6'3" lefty.
If you need a quick refresher on the incident that Edler, his agent and the Committee were reviewing in Zurich, here is the hit, complete with Staal writhing like he's in Kurt Angle's ankle lock:
That's some pretty bad stuff, and it's no wonder Edler got a lengthy suspension. Sweden played two more games in the tourney and it appears Edler will sit out another pair, bringing the total punishment to four games.
News 1130 had it first, I believe, with words from Edler's agent indicating he'd get another two games:
The agent for Canucks defenseman Alex Edler says that he expects the International Ice Hockey Federation to tack on an additional two games to Edler’s suspension for injuring Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal during last spring’s World Hockey Championship.
Edler met with IIHF officials on the weekend and agent Mark Stowe tells News1130 Sports that the ruling could become official as soon as today. It would mean that Edler would miss the first two games for Sweden at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
It's difficult to judge the suspension based on historical precedent. It's a four-game suspension, which isn't all that rare in the NHL (there were seven four-plus game suspensions in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season), but given the short nature of international competitions, four feels like a long suspension in IIHF terms. There's also far less precedent to compare it to. Griffin Reinhart received four games for a high stick at the World Juniors this year, so perhaps the IIHF is pushing a more hard-lined approach with disciplinary issues.
For the Canucks, there's little impact here. In fact, one could argue that the Olympics taking less of a toll on Edler is good for the team down the stretch. Edler is pretty good, especially on the offensive side of things where his inconsistencies are less obvious, so the suspension takes away a potential weapon for the blue-and-yellow. The Swedes are pretty deep on the back end, as The Score describes in the final paragraph here, and it's now possible Edler misses the Olympics altogether. If he does miss the entire event thanks to this suspension, there's a spin to be put on it that this was a de facto six-plus game suspension.
I'm quite curious to hear what the Army's reaction to this discipline is. Four games for a pretty brutal knee-on-knee seems like it's in the right ballpark, but should the scale for suspensions be altered when it comes to international play?