January 04, 2012
CALGARY — The fallout from Canada's ouster from the world junior means Boone Jenner won't have to worry about getting up to play a bronze-medal game.
When the gritty forward got a match penalty for spearing Russian star Yevgeni Kuznetsov in the second period of the eventual 6-5 semifinal loss, one knew there would be a suspension coming from the International Ice Hockey Federation. That's exactly what's happened; Jenner will miss Thursday's bronze-medal game vs. Finland, while Russia defenceman Idlar Isangulov is gone for the final for the high hit that he took Jenner down with on the same play during the chippy game.
Pretty easy call for the IIHF, whose sanctioning committee includes former NHL referee Dan Marouelli. From Randy Turner:
"I knew they were reviewing it," Jenner said after the Team Canada practice Wednesday morning. "I was obviously hoping for the best but it was in their (the IIHF) hands and there was nothing I could do at that point."
Jenner had just been decked by an illegal hit from Ildar Isangulov late in the second period — the Russian had received a minor penalty — when star Russian forward Yevgeni Kuznetsov arrived on the scene to have words with the rugged Canadian foward, who speared Kuznetsov in the midsection.
"If I could go back, I'd like to have that back, but those things happen," Jenner added. "It was just the heat of the battle, I guess." (Winnipeg Free Press)
Jenner was on the team for his willingness to play on the edge, so it's doubtful even Canadian partisans will think he got a raw deal. He knocked Finland's Olli Määttä out of the tournament on Dec. 26 with a big hit that was not penalized and now neither will be skating in the rematch. Also, it's not a stretch to say Kuznetsov knew he was tempting a player who might not be able to stay reined in. Now Canada must face playing with 11 forwards on Thursday, something that it took a while to adjust to on Tuesday night.
The larger theme to all this is that it ties into Canada failing to keep its cool. Did that tie in with Hockey Canada being forced to rely on more 18-year-old players than it would prefer to in the tournament? Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino noted the younger cohort of players let themselves and the team down in the most noticeable of ways:
The lack of discipline hurt Canada again when Jonathan Huberdeau was called for a slash and then hammered his stick into the boards resulting in a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct.
Down and out, Canada fell behind 6-1 early in the third period on Nikita Kucherov's second of the tournament, on a delayed penalty call to Nathan Beaulieu. Beaulieu gave up on the play and by the time he got back into it, it was his man who ended up scoring.
This is why coaches traditionally prefer a roster of 19-year olds. Jenner and Huberdeau are both 18 years old, while Nathan Beaulieu turned 19 less than a month ago. (Sportsnet)
Good point, although they weren't alone, since 19-year-old Brendan Gallagher also took a frustration penalty. Ultimately, that might speak more to Canada's expectations of its players than to proven evidence. The finalists, Sweden and Russia, each have nine players who are 18 and younger, so it's not an inviolable tournament law that experience means everything.
Meantime, in an odd coincidence, the municipality of Thames Centre, Ont., which includes Jenner's hometown of Dorchester, is holding a community party on Thursday where people can cheer on Canada. Only it won't be for a gold medal and the local hero will not be playing. Ouch for them, but at least Jenner has another shot at the world junior next season.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TSN; photo: The Canadian Press).