The IIHF world championships are a way for NHL players who have been eliminated from the playoffs to continue playing while representing their country. Like any international tournament, these players run the risk of suffering some kind of catastrophic injury in an exhibition game.
With that, watch Eric Staal of Team Canada in excruciating pain after a knee-on-knee collision with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler of Team Sweden on Thursday in Helsinki:
After writhing on the ice for a few moments, the Carolina Hurricanes captain was helped to the back by his teammates.
This reverse angle from TSN’s coverage gives some clarity. There’s no effort to avoid the hit as Staal attempts to backhand the puck. But it may have just been a case where the two players were both in unfortunately positions. Edler's not known for his dirty play, for what it's worth. But from a certain angle, that sure didn't look like anything but an attempt to take out Staal.
Edler was given a major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit. What he’ll get from the IIHF for it remains to be seen.
Hopefully Hurricanes fans didn’t just watch their captain suffer a serious injury is an international tournament whose importance is exclusive to Russia and Scandanavia.