Alex Edler Likely Suspended for Part of Olympics

Blake Murphy
July 29 2013 01:40PM

 

 This guy....no knees.

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?

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Blake is a news editor at The Score and also writes basketball for Raptors Republic and baseball at Fangraphs/Rotographs. As such, he doesn't write at TLN nearly as much as he should. Give him a follow @BlakeMurphyODC.
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#1 Ruprecht
July 29 2013, 01:59PM
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There's no sugar coating this hit no matter who throws it. 4 games seems fair to me.

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#2 Matt
July 29 2013, 03:09PM
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I never thought the hit looked intentional, but players need to be aware enough to avoid these sorts of collisions because they can end careers. Four games seems reasonable.

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#3 Mantastic
July 29 2013, 03:10PM
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IIHF has always been tough on suspensions, i don't see why he should be an exception. even with clean open ice hits, they have come down very hard if the other player was injured. 4 games is plenty fair.

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#4 JFR
July 29 2013, 05:48PM
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Always hated knee on knee hits and usually the are from lazy defensive skating and being caught out of position when the forward tries to go around. Dont know why Edler seemed to be the last guy back in the play but stuff like that better not happen in a Nucks uni! 4 games seems fair

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#5 JFR
July 29 2013, 05:48PM
Trash it!
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Always hated knee on knee hits and usually the are from lazy defensive skating and being caught out of position when the forward tries to go around. Dont know why Edler seemed to be the last guy back in the play but stuff like that better not happen in a Nucks uni! 4 games seems fair

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#6 j21
July 30 2013, 08:02AM
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I think knee-on-knee hits are pretty much always unintentional (perhaps excepting Bryan Marchment) and it doesn't even take that much bad luck to make on happen. There is no reason to think Edler was aiming for the result that happened here, but as others have said, there has to be an onus on the hitting player to take extra care avoid danger, so I don't have much issue with the suspension either.

I would say this more or less guarantees he'll be left off the squad, which is too bad for his profile, but maybe not the worst thing in the world when it comes to the Canucks. I still remember how bad of a blow it was to lose Sami Salo to injury in Turin in 2006.

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