HELSINKI – The IIHF’s Disciplinary Panel has been extremely busy this tournament. Former NHL referee Dan Marouelli and former NCAA coach Jeff Sauer have handed out suspensions to eight players totaling 17 games, more than any other IIHF event at the top level.
Leading the way is Sacha Treille of France whose devastating elbow to the head of Kazakh forward Roman Starshenko put the 25-year-old forward out of the tournament with a serious concussion. Treille was given a five-minute major and match penalty for the hit to the head and neck area, and the Panel added four more games to the one-game suspension that automatically goes with the match penalty assessed during the game. This disqualified Treille from the rest of the tournament and is the most severe suspension in World Championship play.
But the hits kept coming. Dmitri Kalinin (RUS) and Goran Bezina (SUI) also earned match penalties and automatic suspensions, while seven other players received game misconducts. These penalties do not carry automatic suspensions, but the Panel reviews these cases to see if further punishment is warranted.
In the cases of Anssi Salmela (FIN) and Marc Methot (CAN), they were subject to supplementary discipline in the form of three games and one game, respectively.
Of significance, the Panel also meted out suspensions to two players who did not receive game misconduct penalties of any sort. In other words, the Panel used their ability to review plays in slow motion to assess punishment that happened too quickly for the on-ice officials to see. As a result, Jannik Hansen (DEN) earned a one-game suspension on March 4 for a hit from behind while Alexei Yemelin (RUS) earned a game for a spearing infraction.
As well, two players are likely to have plays reviewed in the summer. Koba Jass of Latvia and Ryan Getzlaf of Canada both received 5 + 20 penalties in their final games of the tournament, so although the Panel has no need to adjudicate immediately, the Supplementary Discipline Committee might well choose to do so when it meets in the summer.
Throughout the tournament, IIHF.com has consistently incorporated one phrase in all its stories relating to suspensions: “The Disciplinary Panel underscores the mandate handed to it by the IIHF to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of players and the integrity of the game.”
Paradoxically, despite more suspensions were handed out, reckless incidents did not seem to go down. The aggressors have come from both top teams and lower-ranked teams; some are moderately-skilled players and some top stars. In short, there seems no rhyme or reason or pattern emerging except that the lack of respect players talk about off ice continues to be demonstrated on ice regardless how punitive the Panel.