Careless Hit May Cost Canadian Forward in WJC

Every year, Canada is one of the favorites for the World Junior Championship title. Between the Canadians and the Russians, they have won the gold 19 of the first 21 times the World Junior Championship was contested. The two teams have met in the final 12 times with Canada holding a 7-5 edge.

The Canadians hopes for a title this year took a big hit the last two days as they could be without two key forwards due to separate incidents during exhibition games in Europe.

First, Charles Hudon suffered a back injury and will miss the tournament. He is due to fly back to Canada tomorrow. Canadian head coach Steve Spott said on the injury “We met with Charles and, obviously, had to make a tough decision, one that’s devastating to him, and one that, unfortunately, we had to make, but, ultimately, you can’t go into an event like this with players that aren’t up to 100 per cent.”

Hudon, a Montreal draft pick, will be replaced by Mark McNeill who joined the team today.

The second forward who could miss time in the tournament is Boone Jenner after dishing out a late high against Sweden’s Jesper Pettersson in an exhibition game.

Canada won the game 2-1 in a shootout and the controversial hit came with just under eight minutes remaining in the second period. Pettersson passed the puck on a breakout from his own goal line and was forechecked by Jenner so late that the puck was at the blue line when contact was made. Pettersson was down on the ice for some time and had to leave the game by stretcher. Jenner said of the hit “It happened pretty fast. I was just in on the forecheck, forechecking hard, just trying to finish my check and thought I made sure my arm and my shoulder were down so I thought it was a clean hit.”

The video of the hit can be seen here, where you can make a judgement for yourself. It’s late hits like these are why hockey organizations like the NHL, IIHF, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are beginning to take major steps toward hits to the head and illegal cheap shots. Even if Jenner was forechecking, he had no business trying to lay out someone who doesn’t have the puck. He was fairly issued a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct and faces further discipline by the IIHF. Depending on what the IIHF decides on as further punishment, the top prospect in the Columbus system could miss one or more games in the tournament. We can only hope young hockey players can watch the video and get it in their heads that hits like these will not be tolerated.

Canada will have their opening game Dec. 26 against Germany (4:30 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

 UPDATE (12/25/12): The IIHF announced yesterday that Jenner will be suspended three games. He will miss the first three games of the tournament against Germany, Slovakia and the United States. Per, the ruling explanation is as follows:

The video material indicated that the hit was late and delivered with no intention to play the puck and with Pettersson being in a vulnerable position. The five-man IIHF Disciplinary Panel is of the opinion that the application of playing rule 552b (Charging) is correct and that it was Jenner’s intention to deliver the forceful check in spite of having the opportunity to at least make an attempt to avoid contact on Petterson.

Pettersson left the ice on a stretcher and was later diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder and fractured wrist. The injuries will keep him out of the tournament


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