The IIHF Disciplinary Panel has issued a one-game suspension to U.S. forward Justin Abdelkader for a knee-on-knee hit infraction.
Abdelkader will miss his team’s next game on 18 May against Finland.
The infraction occurred at 11:05 of the game against Kazakhstan on 16 May. With the score 0-0 Kazakh forward Konstantin Pushkaryovbegan to move with the puck toward his defending blue line, passing the puck forward to a team mate just as he crossed the blue line. After Pushkaryov released the puck, Abdelkader began his approach on his opponent, starting approximately half way between the Kazakhstan blue line and the center ice red line.
As Abdelkader closed the gap between himself and Pushkaryov he maintained a wide stance. Pushkaryov, anticipating body contact moved to his right in an attempt to avoid the check. Abdelkader makes no attempt to play the puck, further widening his stance and initiating knee-to-knee contact with Pushkaryov when the two players met.
Both players fell to the ice, Pushkaryov requiring medical attention once at the players’ bench and assistance to the Kazakhstan dressing room. Abdelkader was assessed a minor penalty for kneeing on the play.
Based on all of the evidence presented, the Disciplinary Panel determined that Abdelkader had sufficient time to choose the manner in which he was going to check Pushkaryov and that at no point did Abdelkader make any attempt to play the puck. Pushkaryov turned to avoid the hit as he has a right to evade his opponent, so the responsibility lies with Abdelkader to take a different route to avoid the knee-to-knee contact
The Panel believes that Abdelkader’s actions were unintentional but his check caused a serious injury to Pushkaryov and for this he must be held accountable. Therefore the Panel determined that a one-game suspension would be appropriate.