Alex Edler was functionally kicked out of the World Championship tournament for a brutal knee-on-knee hit on Canadian centre Eric Staal in the quarterfinal match between the Canadian team and the Tre Kronor on Thursday. Sweden won the game three-to-two in a shootout, and then defeated Finland’s mens team on Saturday to advance to the finals.
On Saturday Eric Staal got some good medical news in that he won’t require surgery, and is expected to be ready for the start of next season. Alex Edler, however, and perhaps deservedly, got some tough news on Saturday. The latest reports surfacing from Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet on Saturday afternoon suggest that Alex Edler’s suspension may extend into the 2014 Olympic tournament in Sochi. National team manager Tommy Boutsedt even described Edler’s punishment (via Google Translate) as "basically a lifetime ban."
Read past the jump.
Here’s more from Aftonbladet on Edler’s upcoming extended suspension (via google translate):
[The World Championship’s] disciplinary committee has reviewed the situation and recommended the IIHF that the suspension will be extended by a further three games – which would mean that it also applies in next year’s Olympics.
Tommy Boutsedt confirmed the Aftonbladet report, and added his two cents on the suspensions fairness (per google translate once again): "That’s the message we have received from the IIHF now. And you can not take out players who are off to an Olympic tournament. It falls on its face. So five games."
I’ve seen a lot of people, universally Canucks fans, opine that Alex Edler was really trying to avoid hitting Staal on this play, and just spectacularly failed to do so which caused the knee-on-knee collision. Honestly, I’ve always believed that intent is a stupid way to adjudicate whether or not a hit is clean, or to what degree it’s dangerous. This hit is a perfect example since I have no idea what Edler is trying to do on this play, and neither do you, but we should be able to agree that it doesn’t really matter since the hit was both reckless and injurious. This is the sort of contact that can end a career (and has in the past), so a five game suspension seems like the least the IIHF can do.
But it does look like it’ll cost Alex Edler a spot on the Swedish Olympic team. Edler, you may recall, was rather preposterously left off of the 2010 team in favour of world beaters like Douglas Murray, Matthias Ohlund and Henrik Tallinder. Unsurprisingly Sweden failed to medal in that tournament.
Going into the Sochi Olympics, the competition was already going to be steep for Alex Edler to earn a spot on the Swedish blue-line, what with the current surplus of talented young Swedish blueliners just totally dominating the NHL at the moment. With the likes of Oliver Ekman-Larrson, Johnny Oduya, Jonas Brodin, Victor Hedman, Tobias Enstrom, Nicklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Carl Gunnarsson, Erik Karlsson and Nicklas Hjarlmarsson in the mix for the Tre Kronor, it would be very much understandable if there wasn’t space for a player who probably won’t be eligible to compete in the round robin stage of the tournament…