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Emerson Etem, Oliver Gabriel suspended in WHL playoffs

Emerson Etem has been suspended for a kneeing major on Friday (The Canadian Press)One can only presume there was a sinking feeling among Medicine Hat Tigers partisans tonight when Moose Jaw Warriors right wing Torrin White was listed as a scratch for Game 2 of their Western Hockey League quarter-final series.

The injury often matters more than a player's intent on a borderline play. White being out, of course, means that the WHL's leading goal scorer, Emerson Etem, could face more severe supplemental discipline on Monday. The WHL suspended the 61-goal scorer indefinitely, along with also announcing Portland Winterhawks forward Oliver Gabriel is under review after bowling over Kamloops goalie Cole Cheveldave.

(Update: Cheveldave has been ruled out for Game 2 of the Kamloops-Portland series.)

It's a shocker to think Etem's series would be over after a handful of shifts, but that's where we are. From Matthew Gourlie:

[Etem] lasted two shifts before his knee-on-knee hit on Moose Jaw Warriors rookie Torrin White saw him pick up a kneeing major and a game misconduct.

"I was going to finish my check and he moved out of the way and put himself in a vulnerable position. I didn't expect him to move out of the way," said Etem who is arguably the fastest player in the WHL. Etem has 84 penalty minutes in 202 career regular season games.

"I'm one of the least penalized players in the league. I haven't got a game misconduct in my three years here so hopefully (the league) takes that into consideration. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

White, as Warriors coach Mike Stothers describe to Gourlie, tried to return to the game but "couldn't skate at all. He couldn't pivot; couldn't turn. It wasn't even a quarter of a shift." It goes without saying the Tigers' chances of taking out Moose Jaw without Etem, who factored into 107 of their 252 goals in the regular season, are probably slim and none. As his comments indicated, his best hope is probably that the league determines the knee-on-knee hit happened in a split second and could not have been avoided.

Gabriel is hoping for a similar type of leniency. The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect didn't seem to have any way of avoiding knocking over Cheveldave.

From Jim Beseda:

Asked about Gabriel's penalty, Portland general manager and head coach Mike Johnston said: "I think Gabes when he went back for the puck was thinking Cheveldave was going to move left, so Gabes went right and he ran over him. You probably have to call it, I would think. It wasn't something intentional, but he thought the goaltender was going to step out of the way, so he anticipated which way, because he had a lot of speed, and he went the wrong way." (Oregon Live)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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