Though the comments were tepid, many top tier Canadian players took exception to some of the late hits by Team USA during the American squad’s 4-2 victory yesterday. Jonathan Toews was careful with his comments, but was blunt about some of the questionable hits doled out by the aggressive Americans. Via the Chicago Tribune, Toews had this to say:
“Without saying too much, I think there were a couple of borderline hits there where our guys were put in some awkward positions and there’s not much you can do there. The one on Weber was the right call there. We just have to try and protect ourselves and expect that the officials are going to do what they have to do. We have no problem with the chippiness and the physical play (but) it doesn’t matter where you’re playing, I think you always have to respect the player when he has his back to you.”
Toews wasn’t the only one making careful comments. Captain Sidney Crosby and netminder Carey Price both agreed that some hits “crossed the line.” Nick Cotsonika writes that Mike Babcock put the onus on the referees to control the rough play during a game between two rivals:
“There were lots of scrums tonight. They were generated by the players. The referees can clean that up in two seconds. All you’ve got to do is put people in the box. No more scrums.”
The US and Canada meet again in exhibition play tonight.
In other hockey news:
- The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc writes about the concern every team has with the injuries as the World Cup begins its tournament play with an exhibition tilt. With injuries to Marian Hossa, and Marcus Kruger, Blackhawks players were understandably concerned when two significant players from their team suffered injuries. Hossa’s, as it turns out, will not limit him and Europe coach Ralph Krueger said it’s “all green lights” for Hossa to play in Saturday’s game. Kruger, Kuc reports, has a more mysterious upper body injury and will be held out of play during Saturday’s Sweden’s exhibition game against Finland. Both Patrick Kane and Toews, when asked about the possibility of injury, shrugged it off and attributed it to a risk that’s always there, regardless of the circumstance.