UFA, Russia – The Russian national team will be temporarily without the services of Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The forward was handed a supplemental one-game suspension after hitting Slovakian defenceman Tomas Nechala in the face with his stick. Shalunov was given a double-minor for high-sticking.
The incident occurs at the 33-second mark of this video:
“It’s surprising,” said Shalunov, via translator, of his suspension. “I thought it was a normal part of hockey. He’s not really that injured so I don’t know why, but what are you going to do?
“I had no intention to injure any player, it was just an ordinary collision. I was just very surprised.”
Nechala spent a few minutes face down on the ice after the incident. A a pool of blood was on left on the ice once he was finally able to go to the bench with the help from the team’s medical staff.
“I was even surprised with the penalty during the game because I was trying to avoid a collision,” said Shalunov. “So it was an accident that I touched his face with the stick – it wasn’t intentional – I just tried to avoid a collision.”
When asked whether the bloody scene played a part in the suspension, the fourth-round pick of the Blackhawks in the 2011 draft was unsure.
“Maybe? I don’t know,” said Shalunov. “What can I say right now, it’s the referees decision but maybe it was the blood.”
He will miss Russia’s next game against the United States on Friday.
“I think it’s not really good for the team,” said forward Daniil Zharkov, who plays for the OHL’s Belleville Bulls. “But he’ll get rest for one game and then he’ll be in the lineup.”