BUFFALO – German defenceman Dominik Bittner was assessed a three-game suspension by the IIHF for a cross-check to the head and neck area of Norway’s Andreas Stene during a relegation-round game yesterday, Tuesday.
Although no penalty was called on the play, a review of the incident was requested by tournament chairman Frank Gonzalez. The additional suspension was handed out by Dan Marouelli, the IIHF’s appointed Disciplinary Single Judge.
The Germans will play in Division I in 2012 and Bittner is still eligible to play in U20. As a result, the suspension will take effect for the first three games of the 2012 U20.
In making his assessment, Marouelli analyzed the play on DVD from every available angle. As well, he examined the medial reports, discussed the play with on-ice officials, and met with the referee supervisor.
Upon review it is clear that Bittner deliberately targeted the head of Stene with his stick striking him with a dangerous two-handed cross-check to the head.
Although there was no penalty assessed, this required further investigation of the incident as per Rule 510 of the IIHF Rulebook (Supplementary Discipline). Based on the investigation and the seriousness of Bittner's actions, he will be suspended for three games.
The IIHF has very specific rules regarding dangerous hits. These are not limited just to the head but to the neck area as well, which is defined by that part of the body above the collarbone and shoulder pads (i.e., unprotected areas).